Bozeman, Montana — Not too long ago, skiers typically only bought a season pass to one mountain. However, the rise of multi-mountain passes, such as Epic and Ikon, has altered skier and rider preferences. The main two are the Epic and Ikon Passes, which feature most of the big-name mountains.

Many independent mountains have moved toward the Indy Pass, while others partake in reciprocal pass programs. However, one Montana ski area is going in the exact opposite direction.

Bridger Bowl, known as Bozeman’s hometown mountain, had reciprocal pass partners in the past. However, Bridger Bowl will no longer have day ticket benefits to other mountains.

Recently, Bridger Bowl has been promoting its season passes, which are now on sale. In the announcement, they noted that they have gotten rid of reciprocal partners, which includes free lift tickets at Grand Targhee. Their reasoning was to maintain its independence, and the number of passholders that actually used these days was minimal.

This wasn’t a spur-of-the-mill decision by the Montana ski area. In March, Bridger Bowl season pass holders were emailed a survey about their preferences for future season pass partners for the Montana ski area. The survey reportedly noted that “we have no intention to join a multi-mountain pass program, but are trying to gauge what the community would prefer over time.” Bridger Bowl’s takeaway was that passholders preferred to be independent.

The decision makes more sense when you look at the stats for Bridger Bowl this past season. Despite what was a low tide winter, Bridger Bowl still had its second most skier visitation in a season ever. Bozeman is no longer a secret, and skiers and riders now consider it one of the top skiing destinations thanks to the proximity to Big Sky and Bridger Bowl.

Ultimately, I think Bridger Bowl made a wise decision. This will help them assess skier visits and decide whether they want to return to a multi-mountain pass in the future. Not every ski area needs to be on a multi-mountain pass, especially if you exist in a decently sized market. With its proximity to one of the fastest-growing outdoorsy cities in the country, I imagine they’ll have no problem selling season passes.

Image Credits: Bridger Bowl

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