Resorts offer alternative parking strategies for holiday
December 26, 2014
Fresh snow, new gear, an extended holiday weekend with friends and family and lots of out-of-town visitors. It adds up to a mad dash to the slopes. And while there is plenty of room up on the mountain, getting a parking spot at the base of any one of Park City’s three resorts can be a challenge.
The best option, according to Park City officials is to leave your car (or the rental) in the garage and use the local public transit system. Destry Pollard, Park City’s Transit Operations team leader, says the city’s 37 free buses are running full-tilt.
While catching a bus might take add a few minutes at first, that time is made up for in spades at the drop-off point — no laps around the parking lot looking for a spot and no long trek to the base. Buses drop passengers at the curb at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge and alongside Park City Mountain Resort’s plaza. The system also extends out to Canyons where it takes skiers and snowboarders to the Cabriolet boarding point.
The transit buses also have special permission from the Utah Department of Transportation to use the emergency lanes on State Road 224 between Ranch Place and NewPark on the northbound side, adding a much-needed express lane to help alleviate the end-of-day traffic and giving bus riders the perk of getting home a little faster.
But, for those who opt to use their own vehicles, here are some parking suggestions.
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Deer Valley offers free parking at the five lots located below Snow Park Lodge. A shuttle makes frequent circuits, picking up skiers and their stuff and depositing them within an arm’s reach of the ticket windows and lifts.
There are also a limited number of paid parking spots at Silver Lake. Open-air parking next to the lodge is $10 per day. Underground parking is charged by the hour. Parking at Empire is restricted to lodging guests in the area.
"We strongly encourage people to use the free city bus as it drops off at both Snow Park and Silver Lake lodges very frequently," says Deer Valley’s Communications Manager Emily Summers. The buses come by Snow Park every seven to 10 minutes, she said.
There is also another way to skirt the holiday crowds at Deer Valley. Savvy locals, especially those coming into town from Wasatch County, take advantage of Deer Valley’s less-well-known backdoor, located at the Mayflower exit on US 40. There is free parking there, too, a ticket window and easy access to the Jordanelle Express Gondola which takes skiers to the top of the Mountaineer Express lift and, from there, connects to all of the resort’s terrain.
Park City Mountain Resort
If you are headed to Park City Mountain Resort this week, where throngs of newly minted Epic Pass holders have been anxious to get on the lifts, it is especially important to have a parking plan. Better yet – take the bus, which allows you to bypass the hunt for a spot altogether.
If you simply must drive, PCMR offers three free public parking lots close to the Resort Plaza. According to PCMR Communications Manager Andy Miller, they include the Main lot, between Lowell Ave. and Empire Ave., the First Time lot between Lowell Ave. and bottom of the First Time lift and at the Silver King lot between Lowell and Empire. There are also conveniently placed 10-minute loading zones at each lot for those with lots of gear. Miller reminds guests, though, that there is no overnight parking and the spots are restricted to "guests of PCMR and the resort retailers only."
According to Miller the resort offers about 2,000 free parking spots, plenty to handle most days, but weekends and holidays, he warns, "all the lots are usually full at the resort by 10:30 a.m."
But don’t despair. When needed, PCMR offers overflow parking at Park City High School, which is located on Kearns’ Boulevard, about five minutes from the resort base. In addition to the regular city bus route, the high school lot is served by two free shuttle vans that operate from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Miller added, "if guests are staying in Park City we recommend they ride the free city buses and not drive to the resort."
Canyons offers free parking at the Cabriolet lot just off State Road 224. From there, skiers and snowboarders take open-air gondola cars for a lift to the resort forum area where the ticket windows and boarding spots for the Red Pine Gondola and Orange Bubble Express lifts are located. There is limited paid parking at the SunDial Lodge for $20 per day.
According to Canyons Senior Communications Manager Margo Christiansen, the Canyons doesn’t have off-site parking, but for the upcoming busy week, she says, "it’s always a good reminder to take the free public bus system or carpool with friends!"
The resorts haven’t neglected their employees in the parking equation, either. PCMR employees are asked to leave their vehicles in a special lot on Munchkin Drive where shuttles are provided up to the plaza. Deer Valley employees are asked to use Lot 4 below Snow Park.
There are also special accommodations for all of the employees who keep Main Street hopping after the resorts close. On Friday and Saturday nights, they can park at Treasure Mountain Junior High School on Kearns Boulevard and catch a shuttle van to the Old Town Transit Center.
The good news is that Park City has an extensive free transit system and once you are up on the slopes, there is not a car in sight.
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