It’s 7:27 on a weekend and already the parking lot at Stowe Mountain Resort is nearly filled. On Route 108, the two-lane, dead-end access road, cars are backed up for 7 miles. For those who were just heading out the door, it could take an hour or more to go 8 miles.
Vail Resorts announced the solution today and not suprisingly it’s this; paid parking. While paid parking is the norm at Vail, last season Mount Snow became the first of Vail Resorts’ eastern resorts to institute paid parking at prime lots.
Now, Vail Resorts has announced that Stowe Mountain Resort will also institute paid parking on weekends next season. At present, the costs were not being published. The parking can be paid for using an app or online.
Nearly 80 percent of Stowe’s Friday and weekend parking will be paid, with the exception of the parking lots at the Cross Country Center and at the Toll House lift, which is a slow lift that is often closed early and late season. Both are close to 2 miles from the main base area.
There are a few exceptions:
- If you arrive with 4 or more in a car, parking will be free.
- If you arrive after 2 pm (lifts close at 4 pm) parking is free.
- Park at the Cross Country Center or the Toll House lift and parking is free.
- Monday-Thursday parking is free.
The hope, according to general manager Bobby Murphy, is to incentivize car pooling and use of public transportation. However, at a resort located in one of the wealthiest towns in Vermont, the paid parking may not change behavior —at least not for those wealthy enough to afford it. And at Mount Snow, even with paid parking lots were often filled up and overflowing.
Here’s the letter from GM Bobby Murphy:
I’m Bobby Murphy, general manager here at Stowe Mountain Resort, and I’d like to share an update on a topic that’s been on a lot of people’s minds this season.
We are proud to be a popular destination for skiing and riding, but we recognize that traffic is a key challenge. I’ve been asked what we can do to improve the flow of guests into and out of the resort. What can we do to help reduce traffic congestion, increase carpooling, and increase the use of public transit to the resort? How can our operations help change behavior? In response to this, Stowe Mountain Resort will implement a new parking plan for the 2022-23 winter season which includes free and paid parking, new payment strategies and special incentives for those who choose to carpool.
Parking will remain free at all lots Monday through Thursday during non-holiday periods, and at all lots after 2pm. Paid parking will be implemented Friday through Sunday and holidays at all lots, except at the Cross Country Center and Toll House area lots which will remain free seven days a week. Free parking will also be offered at all times in all lots to cars arriving with four or more guests, which we hope encourages carpooling. Additionally, payment can be made via a smartphone app or on-site kiosks to help ensure faster, more efficient parking, especially at our busiest times.
By encouraging more people to use public transport, carpool or visit during non-peak times, we hope to move congestion off of the two-lane road leading to the resort and from our main lots.
In addition, we are ramping up our partnership with Green Mountain Transit, with proceeds from our paid parking going toward additional buses and capacity as well as toward our own resort shuttle system to improve public transportation in and around the resort.
We thank you for your understanding as we strive to create smoother arrivals and departures at our resort. We’ll be releasing additional details about the plan soon.