More cases of ski pass fraud reported in Vail |

More cases of ski pass fraud reported in Vail

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colo. – Ski pass fraud cases in Vail this year are on pace to far exceed last year, but police and the resorts aren’t sure whether the recession or better scanning technology are responsible.

Vail Police so far have tallied 188 cases of skiers using a stolen pass or one belonging to someone else, up from 82 cases during the same time in 2008.

Vail Mountain resort said it had double the amount of ski fraud cases last season as it did the season before. Spokeswoman Liz Biebl said the resort had 454 such cases in the 2008-2009 season.

Not all cases are reported to police, explaining the difference between police and resort tallies.

She said a reason for the increase could be that resort workers have new scanners that bring up large pictures of pass-holders. The scanners make it harder to illegally borrow someone else’s pass.

The resort has gotten better about catching ski pass cheaters by “training their lift operators on how to recognize” deceptive pass users, Kris Cureau, records manager for the Vail Police Department, told the Vail Daily newspaper.

Police said they’ve also noticed more cases of stolen ski equipment such as snowboards.

Thefts of skis and snowboards are on pace to double from 2006, when 54 thefts were reported. There are 80 reported ski and snowboard thefts so far this year, with more thefts expected, Cureau said.

“We haven’t reached that peak holiday period where we’re probably going to see more,” Cureau said.

Authorities are reminding skiers and snowboarders to register their equipment with police so it can be returned if recovered. People who register get a sticker to put on their equipment, which is a deterrent to theft, police said.

Authorities are also reminding skiers to use common sense and keep an eye on their belongings.

Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger said most of the thefts occur in the base areas during lunch or after skiing.

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