By: Katie Rosenfelt / December 14, 2022
Navigating a resort's parking system can seem daunting - gone are the days of spontaneous trips up to the mountain with no fear of a full lot. To combat crowding and traffic, many resorts have adopted different forms of reservation systems and paid parking. Read below to get the lowdown on the ways resorts are handling parking and tips on how to navigate these policies like a champ.
How to Find Parking Information
Resorts will often have a parking section on their site that breaks down what parking they offer, a lot map, and how to make a reservation if one is required. Tip number one is always check a resort’s parking policy prior to making the trip up. If you are having trouble navigating a resort’s parking policy, contact the resort to save yourself a headache later on!
Types of Reservation Systems
Reservation policies differ from resort to resort. However, there are two different basic types of reservations.
- Paid Reservation: Make and pay for a parking reservation all ahead of time online. Some popular resorts that use this system include Alta, Mt. Bachelor, Stevens, and Snowbird.
- Non-Paid Reservation: Some resorts have decided to still offer free parking, but on a reservation system. Similar to paid, make a reservation in advance that guarantees you a spot, however there is no fee.
Season Parking Passes
Similar to a season ski pass, a season parking pass allows you to park without having to pay the daily parking fee. This can be a great option if you plan to spend most of your days this winter skiing, and can save you some money on parking in the long run.
Just keep in mind - it may not guarantee you a spot. Season parking pass policies vary by resort.
First-Come, First-Serve vs. Reservation
First-come, first-serve parking is available as free parking or must be paid at the time you arrive and park, similar to city parking.
The downside with first-come, first-serve parking is that there is a chance that the lot may fill up, especially on holidays and pow days. So, what is the best option?
It depends! Sometimes you have to risk it to get the biscuit. Other times, planning ahead and getting your reservation can save the stress of driving around a parking lot looking for a spot.
Ski shuttles are a common way of getting up the mountain. Usually with pickups at free or low-fee park-and-rides, it can be an inexpensive and convenient option. At Solitude Resort in Utah, Ikon passholders and Solitude season passholders receive free shuttle access, for example.
Tier Parking and Carpool
To help with congestion up busy mountain highways and roads, some resorts are giving an incentive to carpool instead through a tier system. Solitude has adopted this system, offering free parking to those with 4 or more in a vehicle. This can be a great way to get free parking, and to help with traffic congestion getting up to the resorts this season.
Some resorts still offer complimentary parking on a first-come, first-serve basis, such as The Summit at Snoqualmie, Deer Valley, Snowbasin and Arapahoe Basin. If going to a resort that offers this option, take that into account when planning your day - the lot may fill up quickly!
Resorts are trending to hybrid systems of parking that are a mix of paid and unpaid parking, reservation and non-reservation. With the 22/23 season in full-swing, all we can recommend is just be prepared! Familiarize yourself with your local resort's policies, and if traveling to a new resort, just check beforehand.