It reportedly took less than 15 minutes for Stowe Mountain Resort to sell out of its new and controversial season parking passes Tuesday, a $450 commitment that does not even assure pass holders a spot on any particular day this coming winter at the popular Vermont resort.
Stowe’s parent company, Vail Resorts, had announced the intention last spring to try and curb Mountain Road traffic by charging for parking on weekends and holidays during the 2022-23 season, hoping to encourage visitors to use carpooling and public transportation. Paid parking, a $30 flat rate per vehicle, 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. Carpooling vehicles carrying four or more passengers will also still be allowed to park for free.
Parking will remain free at all lots Monday through Thursday during non-holiday periods, and at all lots after 2 p.m. Complimentary shuttle service will be available to transport guests from the Nordic area to the Alpine resort.
The season parking pass does not guarantee parking, but only allows pass holders a spot on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The ski resort had announced last spring that “net proceeds from paid parking will be reinvested to help further improve guest arrival and departure through increased shuttle and bus service and improvements to infrastructure such as lots and bus stops.” Stowe said that it will also ramp up its partnership with Green Mountain Transit, with proceeds from its paid parking going toward additional buses and capacity, as well as toward its own resort shuttle system to improve public transportation in and around the resort.
Premium parking first went into effect last season at Mount Snow in Vermont. Parking ran $15 on weekdays and $30 on weekends and holidays. Vail must have liked the monetary returns, as it announced that paid parking will be implemented at resorts like Park City, Utah and Stowe beginning this winter.
“We want everybody to come,” Vail spokesperson Adam White told WCAX-TV. “We want the best access possible for as many people as possible. That’s going to require everyone working together and doing our part within this parking plan and similar approaches.”
Fees will be paid through a smartphone app with advanced payment and license plate verification, or through on-site kiosks. There will be no in-person, on-lot transactions or gates/checkpoints that slow down guest arrival. “This system will help ensure faster, more efficient parking, especially at our busiest times,” Stowe’s site reads.
Violators of the parking system will be fined an initial fee of $75. If not paid in 10 days, the fee will increase to $100.