New tram to carry per-ride cost
By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
Big Sky Resort launched season pass sales for the 2023-24 season on Thursday, March 23, tied to an announcement about the new Lone Peak Tram, set to finish construction by next winter.
The new tram will have a capacity of 75 passengers, a significant increase from the current 15-person tram, and the pricing structure for tram access will change: instead of the current flat rate which allows unlimited access once skiers and snowboarders pay for a tram day, the new tram will charge per ride.
EBS reached out to the resort for comment on the increased tram capacity and new per-ride pricing structure. After multiple attempts to reach Neil Johnson, vice president of mountain services—who has been responsible for pricing of the current tram—the resort declined to make Johnson available until “we get closer to the winter season and have more specifics to share,” according to Public Relations Manager Stacie Mesuda.
Mesuda did provide a written statement from General Manager Troy Nedved in response to written questions from EBS.
On capacity, Nedved explained that the 75-passenger cabin is directed toward the summer experience, “[when] there is a greater likelihood to fill to the tram’s maximum capacity,” he wrote. During the winter, the number of skiers riding the tram will be limited in accordance with conditions determined by ski patrol—in essence, the tram is not intended to carry 75 skiers at once.
When a new gondola is eventually built, connecting the Base Area to the base of the tram, anyone will be able to ride to the peak without needing downhill gear—the experience will be A.D.A. accessible, Mesuda previously told EBS.
With space for 75 total passengers, the resulting influx of scenic riders from the base area will not cause longer wait times for skiers and snowboarders, as scenic riders currently do.
The price of a scenic tram ride will be lower than the price for skiers, Nedved wrote.
‘We recommend purchasing a gold season pass’
On pricing, Nedved stated:
“The shift to a per ride system will lower the cost barrier of entry for guests wanting to experience Lone Peak… The more affordable entry cost makes the tram more accessible to skiers… Based on the average tram user currently taking less than 2 rides per tram day, we expect the cost to be lower for most tram users. This shift also removes the pressure to lap the tram all day once a guest has committed to the current daily rate.”
No response was provided to the question of how per-ride pricing will compare to the current per-day pricing.
In a video posted by Big Sky Resort, Nedved said, “for those of you who ride the tram frequently, we recommend purchasing a gold season pass, which provides unlimited tram access, or a double-black pass, which includes 25 rides for the season.”
The gold pass, now for sale at an early-season discount, costs $2,250 for adults (aged 26-64) and various prices for other age groups. The double-black pass costs $1,880 for an adult.
“As a reminder, children six and under ski free with a parent season pass, and Big Sky Resort proudly offers all K-8 Big Sky students with a free season pass, and military discounts all season long,” Nedved added. He did not respond to the question of a local discount.
Update: The tram’s exact capacity had been announced as early as June, per resort officials. Also, after this article was published, a follow-up phone call with Mesuda clarified that Johnson’s role is responsible for execution, sales and current tram pricing but not “ticket policy” as originally mentioned in this article. Policy falls under Nedved’s authority.