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Ski Marmot Basin, Alberta, Snow Valley, Calif., Titus Mountain, N.Y., and Montage Mountain, Pa., have all joined the Indy Pass roster for winter 2021-22, bringing the Indy Pass coalition up to 72 resort partners in 27 states and provinces.

Snow Valley is Indy Pass’s first resort partner in Southern California, and the others strengthen regions in which the pass already has a foothold—part of a strategy that aims to offer a good mix of access in North American ski markets, but not saturate.

“Ski Marmot Basin gives us four Western Canada partners and Snow Valley is an exciting pick-up for us in SoCal,” noted Indy Pass founder Doug Fish. “By pairing Titus with West Mountain in New York and Montage with our southern New England partners, we are one step closer to offering a high-quality resort within easy reach of every skier and rider in North America.”

In an ideal world, Fish would like Indy Pass to have two resort partners within day-trip distance of every ski market in North America. “That’s the rough logic behind our density equation,” Fish told SAM. While the coalition has grown exponentially in the last two years, Fish is cautious of becoming too saturated in any given region. “If we get too much density, that impacts our yield. We would have to raise the price, and we like being under $300 [for the restricted pass]—that’s the sweet spot.”

Saturation could also undercut season pass sales at partner resorts, undermining the pass’s ability to bring new customers and revenue to coalition partners, a key aim, said Fish. “I don’t think this model works then if we start cannibalizing season passholders,” he elaborated. “This thing [the Indy Pass] is only as strong as the resorts that are on it.”

In order to maintain the viability of the product, Indy Pass has capped ski area partners in New England. “I think we have room to grow in western New York and perhaps in western Pennsylvania,” he said. Fish also sees opportunity to add partners in regions like Colorado, California, the Southwest, and parts of Canada where Indy’s presence is not as robust.

For individual partner resorts, Fish sees Indy Pass as a new customer acquisition tool. “Our resort partners get 85 percent of the revenue. They understand they are offering a discount to our passholder, but the strategy is that that passholder is going to be someone that probably wouldn’t come to the resort otherwise,” he explained.

Fish also sees Indy Pass as a rising tide lifting all independent resort boats. “A lot of people who are casual skiers think there are only 25 ski resorts in the country. We are trying to raise the profile for all indies, all mom-and-pops, and we can do it through the marketing cloud of our 70-plus resorts,” said Fish.

Of the latest resorts to join Indy’s swelling ranks, Fish said, “the addition of these incredible mountains is a great bonus for our passholders in all regions.” Passholders will have two days of skiing and riding at the four newly added areas, as they do with all Indy Pass partner resorts. Titus Mountain, Ski Marmot Basin, and Snow Valley will have no blackouts for regular Indy Pass holders. Montage will have some holiday blackout dates.

The regular adult Indy Pass is available at its early-bird rate of $279 until August 31.

Warren Miller’s Journal

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