What our staff wants you to know during Chamber Pass Program season

Hi members (and prospective members)!

The Chamber Pass Program has been in existence for well over a decade. In that time, the staff has amassed a few pro-tips) that we want to pass on:

Be patient

This is the chamber’s busiest month, with the greatest number of member interactions we will see all year. The Basalt Chamber has 1.5 FTEs. The membership consists of 400 businesses and non-profit organizations. Last year a record breaking 240 members participated in the Chamber Pass Program! That means a lot of transactions, questions, phone calls and emails happen in a short period of time.

While we may not be able to get to your question right away, we will get to it. Additionally, regular chamber business does not go on hold just because it is Chamber Pass season. We hope that our members recognize that our organization is more than just a discounted ski pass, and that that work continues.

Additionally, ASC has experienced its own staff shortages the last few years, so it may take time for items to be processed, especially if you wait until the last minute, which brings us to…

Act early

Pretend it is a powder day and you want first tracks. The Super Early Discount is available for a month. This means there are four weeks to procrastinate complete the different steps of the process, but that time will fly by before you know it. Members typically underestimate how long it will take to go from start to finish, which creates a stressful situation for all involved. We ask that your organization starts as soon as possible to ensure ample time to move from opting-in to having a 16-digit code ready to be loaded onto a ski pass this winter.

It is worth noting that the Basalt Chamber isn’t the only chamber involved in this program. Between all the other chambers in the valley, there are at least 1,000 other businesses outside of our membership going through the process with Aspen Skiing Company. This is yet another reason not to wait.

The chamber has implemented two strategies to encourage members not to procrastinate. Members who opt-in during the Early Action Incentive timeframe (August 17-26), will be entered into a drawing to receive a $325 credit towards next year’s membership. Additionally, Friday, September 9, 2022, is the last day for the chamber to process opt-ins for verification of eligibility. This is to ensure you have enough time to order and pay for pass products prior to the Super Early Discount deadline on September 16, 2022.

While ASC tries to process orders and transactions within 48 hours, the turnaround time can significantly delayed during the last week due to all the last minute people hitting its system. NOTE: Pass pricing is only locked in once ASC has been paid – you don’t want to be paying more because of procrastination.

There is a human behind each interaction

While it may seem that the digital process happens “automagically,” behind the scenes, most of the steps are occurring manually. We hope to continue to improve this each year, but it takes time.

Chamber staff has to match transaction confirmation emails with outstanding invoices (this is why we ask members to be paid up before pass sales start – to save time). For every member opt-in, staff has to look up the individual registration and match it to our database to verify eligibility. Sometimes there are issues or discrepancies that need to be addressed before moving forward. Once everything is cross-checked and cleared, staff manually enters the business’s details in to a special ASC database, then emails the member confirming that their verification is complete with a link to the ASC pass order form.

When a member completes the ASC order form, it is added to a queue that must be handled by a human before a Sales Order is generated in ASC’s system. This is why ASC states that it may take up to 48 hours to process the order: a pass order form completed at 10 p.m. at night will not automatically be ready to go at 9:01 a.m. the next day because technically only one business minute has passed. This also applies to over the phone payments – ASC staff must call each one of those businesses to get payment over the phone.

PRO-TIP: Hold off on loading the 9 digit code onto an Aspen Card

This applies to what happens AFTER a member has secured the discounted Chamber Passes (essentially Step 5). While there is the ability to buy pass insurance, which covers before and during ski season, there is another lesser known way to CYA pre-season:

Discounted Chamber Pass Program products are FULLY REFUNDABLE until mid-February IF they are still in the voucher form. That’s the big IF: The moment the voucher (aka 9-digit code) is loaded onto an Aspen Card (the card in your pocket that provides lift/turn style access) – this option goes away.

“But why would I want to wait to load my card?”
A: In short – because life happens. Example: Say an employee goes mountain biking in Moab this fall and break their leg, which means their winter season is out. If their Chamber pass is still in the voucher form, the business can still return it for a full refund. While it stinks to miss season, at least the company/employee aren’t out the cost of the pass.

This was the case in 2020 with our Executive Director: She literally completed the over the phone payment with ASC in a hospital exam room, only to find out later that day that she required hip surgery and her 2020-21 season was going to be a NO GO. The chamber was able to return the voucher and receive a 100% refund.

Another case scenario is if you are a business owner/manager who is unsure of what your winter staffing will look like. Remember – only eligible businesses can provide passes to employees working at least 20 hours a week during the winter season. A manager may not know who will be on staff come November/December, so we recommend holding off on giving out the passes until the lifts start turning and you are sure of shift schedules.

This scenario tends to impact businesses with seasonal staff members, such as restaurants and retail. Example: if a voucher is redeemed by an employee who then quits (or drops below 20 hours/week) before or even during the winter season, the business can no longer return the pass, AND it will also have to pay ASC $50 to transfer the pass to an eligible employee. (See Aspen Snowmass 2022-23 Chamber Pass Program Guidelines for more details).