Vail Resorts to address traffic, parking issues next season at Tahoe ski areas with new plan
Plan includes a combination of free, paid parking with carpooling incentives to alleviate congestion
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Vail Resorts will tackle parking and traffic problems next season at Lake Tahoe ski areas and will use a combination of paid and free parking options with added incentives for carpooling and a focus on reservations, officials announced Wednesday.
Road congestion and parking challenges in the Lake Tahoe region are big issues and they have been compounded by one of the snowiest seasons on record.
Heavenly and Kirkwood mountain resorts and Northstar California will create a combination of paid and free parking options on weekends and holidays/peak periods, with a focus on reservations and carpooling incentives, to alleviate road congestion and parking challenges.
Free parking will still be readily accessible at each resort on weekends and holidays/peak periods, in addition to weekdays, Vail Resorts said in a news release.
“Addressing the traffic issues that impact our community is a key priority for the South Lake Tahoe City Council, but we can’t do it alone,” said City Council member Cody Bass, who also is a board member for the Tahoe Transportation District and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Heavenly’s paid reservations and carpooling based parking approach on peak days is an exciting announcement that will help alleviate road congestion in the community, while also promoting important initiatives, like carpooling and taking public transportation options. Taking a forward-looking, innovative approach to solving community-wide challenges is critical, and we appreciate Heavenly’s leadership in tackling these issues.”
The new comprehensive parking plans incorporate learnings from the traffic patterns and current policies of each resort, plus harness best practices from across other mountain resorts and the ski industry.
“Ultimately, it is our goal to improve the experience for our guests, employees, and communities – it’s why we are taking action ahead of next season,” said Tom Fortune, VP and COO of Heavenly and the Tahoe Region. “We are committed to providing our guests with plenty of options – free parking, preferred paid, reservations-based parking, and carpool incentives to reduce congestion and support the environment. We anticipate a real improvement to traffic and parking availability, and we are grateful for the support and collaboration from our community partners in both North and South Lake Tahoe.”
The company has found that carpool incentives reduce vehicle volumes even with similar resort visitation by encouraging more people per vehicle, the release said. At Park City Mountain, more than 60% of cars using paid/reservation lots during the 2022/23 season qualified for free parking thanks to carpooling incentives. Additionally, using parking reservations – which will take place at Heavenly and Northstar next season – has been shown to spread out arrival times and reduce congestion as drivers roam for spots.
“We have worked closely with Heavenly Mountain Resort over the course of this season to address some of the most challenging weather and traffic days our community has experienced in recent memory,” said South Lake Tahoe City Manager Joe Irvin. “The introduction of paid reservations and carpooling based parking on weekends and holidays by the resort is a clear solution that will help alleviate congestion and traffic flow through our community.”
“Heavenly Mountain Resort’s transition to a reservations-based paid parking model on its busiest days, while also leaning into carpooling incentives, will help get more cars off the road, ultimately reducing traffic and positively impacting the environment,” said Carol Chaplin, President & CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Taking an approach that has long-term sustainability in mind goes hand-in-hand with supporting our tourist economy. We look forward to a continued partnership with Heavenly as we support a collaboration-first approach to stewardship here in South Lake Tahoe.”
Heavenly’s plan includes:
- Reservations for this lot will be required on weekends and holidays/peak periods until noon, and will be available online at the start of the season. After noon, all parking in this lot will be free and no reservations will be required.
- Reservations will be free for cars with four or more occupants at all times; a flat fee of $20 will be required for cars with three or fewer passengers.
- If parking at California Base Area on weekends or holidays/peak periods, guests must secure a reservation via our website (regardless of how many people are in the vehicle).
- Parking will remain free on weekends and holidays/peak periods in all parking lots on the Nevada side of the mountain (Boulder and Stagecoach lots). On the California side of the mountain, guests can find free parking on Saddle Rd., Keller Rd., and overflow parking on Ski Run Blvd with free daily shuttle access to California Base Area.
- Parking remains the same near the gondola with options at the city parking garage and other private parking lots, as well.
For more information on Heavenly, click here.
The Kirkwood plan includes:
- In addition to the VIP and Village parking lots, the Chair 9 and Volcano lots will become paid lots on weekends and holidays/peak periods.
- On these days, vehicles with 4-plus passengers will always park for free; if there are three or fewer passengers, a flat fee or $35 will be required to park in these lots.
- Over 80% of our parking will remain free on weekends and holidays/peak periods in the Red Cliffs lots, the Timber Creek lots, the Tennis Court lot, and parking on Kirkwood Meadows Drive and Loop Road.
- 100% of our parking will remain free on non-peak weekdays.
For more information on Kirkwood, click here.
The Northstar plan includes:
- For Village View, reservations will be required on weekends and holidays/peak periods between 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will be available online at the start of the season. After 1 p.m., all parking in this lot will be free and no reservations will be required.
- Reservations will be free for cars with four or more occupants at all times; a flat fee of $20 will be required for cars with three or fewer occupants.
- If parking in Village View on weekends or holidays/peak periods, guests must secure a reservation via our website (regardless of how many people are in the vehicle).
- For the Lower Village Preferred Paid lot, reservations will be required on weekends and holidays/peak periods from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fees to park in this lot will remain the same as winter 2022/23: $20 during the week and $40 on weekends and holidays/peak periods, regardless of how many people are in a single vehicle.
- Castle Peak lot will remain free every day, no reservations required.
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