Guest editorial: Vail Resorts should provide free gear storage for guests
Storage lockers are essential to getting skiers on resort buses
I was happy to read about Vail Resorts’ pledge of a sustainable net-zero operational footprint by 2030. Now I challenge Vail’s management team to make another smart sustainability move.
Providing your guests who travel by bus complimentary storage for their skis, poles and snowboards would enable them to safely and comfortably ride the bus without having to carry their heavy, oversized equipment. The service would align perfectly with your current net-zero operations pledge and show your support of Park City and Summit County’s sustainability goals.
Local transportation departments have worked tirelessly to improve routes and get more buses in our fleet, including new emission-free electric buses that run between Old Town and Kimball Junction transit centers with stops at Canyons Village and Fresh Market. As a regular bus rider, it is my experience that except for special events, there are plenty of empty seats onboard. Readily available skis/snowboard storage for your bus riders would, I believe, increase overall bus ridership and decrease traffic and parking problems.
I know firsthand that ski and pole storage makes it easy to travel to the slopes via bus. As a regular bus rider and avid skier, I rode a Park City bus all last winter to ski at Deer Valley which offers guests complimentary ski valet storage. I put my boots, helmet and gear in a backpack and walked to the Redstone bus stop in less than 5 minutes. I carried nothing. I met interesting people on the bus. I watched cars inching along State Road 224. I checked my phone and read the news. I was dropped off at the door of Snow Park Lodge. I put my boots on in the locker room, picked up my skis and poles, and was sitting on a ski lift in less than an hour. Life was good.
Providing bus riders complimentary ski and snowboard storage would require you to create hundreds of storage boxes or “cubbies” only big enough to store a pair of skis and poles or a single snowboard. Boxes would take up a relatively small amount of indoor space located near your resort entry points where skiers and boarders get on and off the bus. If you used a valet system, bus riders would have their equipment stored in one of the boxes and use a box tag to pick it up after a short stop, a night or several days. This is different from your current offering of a limited number of storage lockers only at the Park City base which guests must pay for to use.
Recently I purchased an Epic pass because I want to ski with my children and they have Epic passes. It was a decision made especially difficult because I do not want to abandon my commitment to using our free public transit system to ski and I’m afraid, without on-mountain storage for my equipment, I will need to. I simply cannot manage carrying it any distance. Loaded down with skis, poles, ski boots, helmet and other gear on a bus, much less a crowded bus, I am an accident waiting to happen.
I recently contacted a Vail Resorts representative about my disappointment that they do not provide complimentary equipment storage for bus riders. He stated he would share my request with the management team. I want to make sure they consider the positive impact it would have on increasing transit ridership and reducing traffic. This needs to happen if we are to live in a environmentally safe community.
I ask those who support this service to contact Vail Resorts. Let them know you’d like them to take an active role in getting guests to and from their slopes via public transit. Consider it for yourselves. Resort representatives can be reached at email@example.com or 435.649.8111.
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A reader says community backlash regarding transportation changes is common. In his view, UDOT should proceed with a proposal to widen S.R. 248 to five lanes in Park City anyway.