Jurors decided in Mount Snow’s favor after concluding that NBC and AlliSports had breached a contract with Mount Snow which agreed to bring the Winter Dew Tour, owned by AlliSports, to the resort for two years with a third-year option. The contract was signed on November 15, 2009, and bound NBC and AlliSports to hold a Winter Dew Tour event at the resort during the 2009-2010 season and the 2010-2011 season. An inaugural Winter Dew Tour event was held at Mount Snow in 2008 under a separate contract.
In the agreement between Mount Snow and AlliSports, either side would be allowed to terminate the agreement provided that notification was given no later than 60 days after the completion of the 2010 Dew Tour events at Mount Snow. April 8, 2010 was the last day that either party could terminate the deal, but Alli notified Mount Snow they were pulling out on July 13, 2010.
Mount Snow received $2 million in media value from the events in 2010, garnering the largest audiences for Dew Tour events in two years with approximately 33,000 in attendance. Locally, the event was an economic boon for businesses, restaurants, and lodging, so much so that the Dover Selectboard approved the expenditure of about $40,000 in economic development funds to cover a portion of Mount Snow’s expenses.
Count four of the lawsuit said that AlliSports engaged in constructive fraud in scheduling the 2010-2011 Dew Tour stop at Killington Resort. According to the lawsuit, “Before canceling the 2010-2011 WDT at Mount Snow, and without Mount Snow’s knowledge, Alli engaged in communications with another ski resort about holding the East Coast stop (of the tour) at that resort (Killington), instead of honoring its agreement with Mount Snow.”
The claims go on to say that AlliSports was prepared to announce their decision to move the stop to Killington within three days of informing Mount Snow of the cancellation.
Some controversy was created due to halfpipe size. At the time the event was canceled, Dew Tour officials decided to begin using 22-foot halfpipes for their major snowboarding competitions, in order to attract top athletes who prefer the larger halfpipes. Mount Snow’s halfpipe, which was used for the 2009 and 2010 events, is an 18-foot halfpipe.
Although Mount Snow considered building a 22-foot halfpipe, the site of the current halfpipe was deemed unsuitable for 22-foot walls. The resort would have had to go through a long permitting process to obtain approval for a new halfpipe, which wouldn’t be ready until the 2011-12 winter season. According to a previous article in The Deerfield Valley News, Mount Snow general manager Kelly Pawlak said AlliSports “couldn’t wait until 2012” and began looking for other venues despite their agreement with Mount Snow.
In their response to Mount Snow’s lawsuit, AlliSports denied that there was ever a contract or an agreement of good faith between themselves and the resort. AlliSports also admitted that they had communicated with “other ski resorts” about holding the Dew Tour there, but denied they had an agreement to continue holding the event at Mount Snow. They also claimed that “to the extent the parties reached any agreements, the plaintiff (Mount Snow) anticipatorily breached them by being unable or unwilling to perform essential elements of the agreements rendering them of no further force and effect, and discharging all obligations, if any, owed by the defendants.”
“As a direct consequence of Alli’s misrepresentation, omission, and decision to cancel the WDT event at Mount Snow, plaintiff Mount Snow has suffered monetary damages in excess of $2 million” said Mount Snow’s lawsuit, and on May 8, the jury agreed.
“We’re very happy,” said Mount Snow attorney Tom Montemagni. “We feel we’ve been vindicated and that it’s a very good decision.”
While there was a lack of clarity as to whether there were signed agreements between the two camps, Montemagni, who initiated the lawsuit, said that he believed the evidence was clear. “There is some confusion as to agreements made, but there was definitely a meeting of the minds, and Alli reneged,” said Montemagni. “I had no doubt from the beginning that there was a breach of contract, and the jury evidently also believed it.”