Me Raphaël Parrot.  Photo: Radio-Canada

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Me Raphaël Parrot. Photo: Radio-Canada

Some of them, however, are considering taking a class action.

“The resorts are doing their best at the moment” to offer skiing in accordance with the changing health instructions, says the communications manager of the two resorts, Lisa-Marie Lacasse. “People seem to forget about it. “

The pandemic has restricted access to the slopes. The number of skiers is limited on the mountain, the chalets must remain closed and the face cover must be worn while waiting to go back to the summits.

To these rules is added the curfew imposed on January 9, which limits the hours of evening skiing.

It is a context that requires adjustment, both for the resorts and for skiers, underlines Ms. Lacasse.

Exasperated subscribers

Several subscribers seem to be at the end of their patience.

In December, despite a subscription guaranteeing them unlimited access to evening skiing, many of them had to turn back to Stoneham, since the maximum capacity of the mountain was reached when they arrived.

Sébastien Pagé.  Photo: Radio-Canada

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Sébastien Pagé. Photo: Radio-Canada

This weekend, a new computer reservation system promised to better manage traffic. Subscribers had to choose an arrival time and comply with it, so as to avoid traffic jams at the entrance.

However, the system has faltered under the weight of demand. Several subscribers, again, will not be able to ski on Sunday evening due to the outage.

“Currently, I have an evening ski pass”, explains Sebastien Pagé. “I would love to go night skiing, but I’m told to book. Ok, I’m going… but the website crashes! “

This skier demands compensation. According to him, the Stoneham tourist resort does not honor the terms of the contract signed between it and its customers when selling its subscriptions.

“The station tells me: ah, it’s because of the pandemic. Excuse me, there, but the pandemic was already here when you sold me my subscription. If you change the rules, give me back my money, ”he denounces.

Too many subscriptions sold?

The resort has adjusted its opening hours to curfew, moving evening skiing to 3 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.

Even so, the problem persists, according to Yann Giroux, another unhappy subscriber.

“They sold too many evening passes,” he believes. According to him, this explains why they must now refuse subscribers to comply with health measures.

Management is defending itself. In an email response, she writes that “La Passe subscription usage this year is much greater than it has always been for the past 10 years. “

Yann Giroux had to turn back.  Photos: Radio-Canada

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Yann Giroux had to turn back. Photos: Radio-Canada

This is why the resorts had to set up this system for managing the arrivals of evening ski subscribers, explains the email.

“You have to remember that this fall, when we sold our season tickets, the health situation was not what it is today. The businesses were open and more activities were available to the population, ”continues Lisa-Marie Lacasse, communications manager for the two stations.

In other words, the decrease in the activities available due to the pandemic seems to create a bottleneck, according to Ms. Lacasse.

Collective action “from next week”?

Yann Giroux and the lawyer Raphael Parrot formed a Facebook group as soon as they learned about the implementation of a reservation system. Its name is unequivocal: “Class action against Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne”.

It was already 1,100 members strong by early Sunday afternoon.

“We believe that several consumer rights are violated by the two stations,” says Me Parrot, himself a subscriber to Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne. “We are currently studying all the possibilities and all the prejudices suffered. “

The study will not wait until the end of the season to be completed. Their appeal, says Me Parrot, could be filed “by the beginning of next week”.

Sébastien Pagé approves the intention to bring an action. He believes, however, that the case does not need to end up in court.

“We can talk to each other”, we are human, he said. “Let him compensate us by reimbursing us or giving us tickets for each day we were unable to go skiing. “

Management of the two resorts, owned by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, Calgary, asks customers to “remain optimistic.”

“There are more than two months of evening skiing to come this season, that is to say about sixty evenings of skiing. We are therefore confident that our La Passe subscribers will get their money’s worth, ”says Lisa-Marie Lacasse, communications manager for Stoneham and Mont-Sainte-Anne.

An evening subscription, the email reminds us, costs “from $ 169 to $ 199”.

The reservation platform, Sunday in the middle of the afternoon, was still not working.