Lawsuit challenges Lake Tahoe ski resort's new parking fees

Opening Day at Northstar, Nov. 29, 2919. ( Northstar California Resort )

Two season pass holders at a Lake Tahoe-area ski resort have filed a lawsuit against the resort's owner over new parking fees they say were unjustly imposed.

Officials at Northstar California Resort near Truckee, California, announced in October they would begin charging fees for the first time this season at a major parking lot near the premium parking area where fees already were in place.

Steven Kroll, a Crystal Bay attorney, and fellow resident Ronald Code filed the lawsuit in district court in Nevada in December alleging fraud and breach of contract against the resort's Colorado-based owner, Vail Resorts, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

They say they'd already purchased their season passes when the new policy was announced so they shouldn't retroactively be subject to the fees.

“I was surprised as everybody had to be in discovering, after having purchased my season ticket for Northstar that one of the main attractions was not there anymore,” said Kroll, 79.

“I believe people can change rules in advance, they can’t do it retrospectively," he said. He's especially upset with the fact the resort has no refund policy for season-pass holders to get their money back.

The newly established parking fees at the Village View lot are $10 daily Monday through Friday, and $20 on weekends and holidays.

Free parking remains farther away at the Castle Peak lot, where guests board a shuttle bus that takes them to the village.

Resort officials said they don't comment on pending litigation. They defended the fees earlier as a way to help ease traffic congestion closest to the ski slopes.

“It is our priority to provide the best possible experience for our guests and their families,” Deirdra Walsh, vice president and general manager of NorthStar, said in a news release in October.

“Through a conscious decision to control our parking resources, we expect to significantly reduce traffic flow on Northstar Drive, which will ultimately improve our parking and transportation experience for guests,” she said.

Kroll wrote in the lawsuit filed Dec. 6 that if he and Code used their passes to the fullest extent, six days a week, they’d pay an extra $2,000 in parking alone.

He said parking at the free Castle Peak lot would add waiting time in possible bad weather, and danger of having to navigate “long slotted-steel stairways in heavy, clumsy ski boots while bearing their skis and any other equipment.”

He asked that Vail be required to “specifically perform its obligation to provide plaintiffs free parking at the Home Run parking area for the 2019-2020 ski season.”

“If I win, it will give everybody their rights back not just me,” Kroll said.