Bogus Basin began as and remains a community-owned and community-supported mountain that anyone anywhere would love to have in their backyard. Bogus directly and significantly affects our economy and our health. Since 1942, Bogus has had countless contributors and all deserve our thanks. On the list of those deserving our thanks is Mike Shirley. While preparing Bogus for the next 75 years, Mike changed Bogus in many ways, resulting in Bogus becoming a nationally recognized mountain.
Mike, thank you for establishing Bogus as an industry leader by challenging the industry’s conventional pricing model with your highly discounted $199 season pass. Shortly after the first “$199” sale, it became clear that everything had changed. What had started as a way to fill up the mountain and increase total revenue became a legacy of affordability, a legacy that remains today. Thank you for adding three high-speed quads (chair lifts). Thank you for adding a tube park and a Nordic lodge and for making a host of other improvements that collectively doubled the number of smiling faces that make it up to Bogus. Through your tenure as president and general manager, a big day at Bogus became 10,000 skiers, boarders and tubers, all finding the right fit for a great day on the mountain.
Your $199 season pass strategy not only improved Bogus but improved the entire ski industry by demonstrating convincingly that a ski area could increase total revenue by discounting prices. And, as we all know, the $199 season pass doubled revenue at Bogus, creating an entirely new demographic group of mountain recreation seekers. The $199 pricing became a win-win-win because Bogus ended up with more total revenue, the number of skiers increased dramatically, and everyone had more money left over for a world famous Bogus Burger and maybe a cold one.
Adding three high-speed quads was a huge deal. In general terms, a high-speed quad moves twice as many people twice as fast as a fixed-grip double. Some of us still remember the 45-minute lift lines of the ’70s and ’80s. In those days, liftees had to get really, really good at coming up with games to play (like Trivial Pursuit) while taming long lift lines. With high-speed quads, a long lift line became about eight minutes. Quads also allowed skiers and boarders to get all the sliding they wanted in about half the time because they weren’t spending nearly as much time in lift lines or on the lifts.
Our community has much to celebrate and be thankful for with 75 years of mountain recreation at Bogus. Thanks to Mike Shirley Mike for everything he did for Bogus and our community. For certain, the mountain’s 75th anniversary celebration has much brighter lights because of him.
Alan Moore worked for Mike Shirley when Mike was the vice president of finance and administration at Morrison-Knudsen and happily again at Bogus Basin.