This season for Vail Resorts has been known for its Epic Lift Lines, but will next season be known for Epic parking fees? After shutting down for the season on Sunday, Stowe Mountain Resort announced Monday that their major lots will now feature paid parking on weekends and holidays. This will include the Mount Mansfield, Gondola-Midway, and Spruce Peak(which had paid parking beforehand) lots. The Toll House and Cross Country parking lots will remain free. Parking will remain free for those who arrive past 2 pm, or for those who have four or more people in their car. Based on the over 700 comments on their Facebook page, or the 900 comments on their Instagram post, you could say the response wasn’t positive. Another concerning aspect of the post is that there is no mention of what the parking will cost on weekends and holidays. Stowe said the funds raised “will be reinvested in resort infrastructure including transit and parking management, along with increased contribution to Green Mountain Transit to enhance public transit services.“
The big question out of this recent announcement is whether more East Coast mountains owned by Vail will see their main parking lots become paid. Based on the crowds at Okemo this past season, they would appear to be next up. Mount Sunapee is another possibility, but it’s leased from the State of New Hampshire, so it would likely need to be approved. Don’t be surprised if there are more Vail properties that announce an increased amount of paid parking spaces across North America in the coming months.
I don’t see this improving the traffic situation much during weekends in Stowe. Out of all their East Coast destinations, Stowe brings out the most boujee clientele, so many won’t be deterred by paying for parking. I also don’t think Vail did enough in terms of raising Epic Pass prices. While the season pass costs more than the 2021-22 season, they introduced a monthly payment plan, ironically making it even more accessible. On the other hand, it will give motivation to those that are living or staying overnight in town to use Stowe’s free transit system. In short, it’s not particularly an endearing way to thank passholders and locals for their 85th anniversary. Image Credits: Stowe Mountain Resort