reference cards tend to be blower types which push all the hot air one way. Non-reference cards tend to recirculate air mixing hot and cold air together. They are nice for gamers who may have 1 or maybe 2 cards in a closed system as the total thermal load isn't that much so having intake air a little warmer isn't much of an issue.
Mining rigs tend to be much more dense with 4 to 8 GPU per motherboard. Combine that with multiple rigs and you can be talking 20, 30, or more GPUs in a small space. Having them all pull cooler air from one side and blow hotter air out the other side simplifies heat management.
Then again the preference for reference cards isn't universal. Some miners prefer non-reference cards. The blower wheel tends to be very noisy and they die at a much higher rate than axial fans.
BTW: "Ultra Durable" blah blah blah is 99.9% marketing. They take things that already exist and create fancy charts, and bold claims. I mean honestly does Gigabyte also have the "Rather Fragile" version of the card for sale also?
If other products did the same thing you would see:
"Elite Gamer" Chicken Breasts. Contains less human corpse than other brands. By not feeding our chickens rotting human corpses we ensure a higher protein to fatal blood disease delivery system. Get into the game. Don't be sidelined with stomach cramps (which may or may not happen because other brands don't feed chickens human corpses either). Insist on "Elite Gamer" Chicken Breasts.