Stowe Mountain Resort’s paid parking passes went faster than the best TV deal on Black Friday. Eric Wilbur from the New England Ski Journal reported Wednesday that the $450 season passes were sold out within fifteen minutes. A user on Reddit claimed that it sold out within nine minutes, and others on Facebook said that they couldn’t even secure a pass during the time frame that it was available. The controversial pass comes with a pretty big caveat: it doesn’t guarantee you a parking spot. In other words, it probably has the same present-day value as an NFT.

A commenter on Facebook, who seems to be a pretty big fan of the mountain in spite of its pitfalls, summed up everyone’s feelings about the new paid parking setup:

“Vail’s communication plan regarding parking — which can only be described as intentionally vague— is probably the most frustrating part of this entirely flawed strategy. As a local who skis 60+ days a year, the total cost of my pass just more than doubled because I was unable to purchase the $450 pass, despite refreshing that page starting at 5:58 pm and writing down my license plates in advance. I feel like Clark Griswold at the end of Christmas Vacation except I couldn’t even pay to join the Jelly of the Month club. What a mess.”

For those who weren’t fortunate enough to snag a parking pass, here is how Stowe’s new system works: the most popular parking lots at Stowe will make you pay to park on Weekends (Friday-Sunday) and Holidays. It will be $30 if you don’t have four or more people in your vehicle. If you have four or more people in your car, it’s free. If you show up after 2 p.m., parking is free.

Some of the lots will stay have free parking seven days a week, which will include the Toll House and Cross County Center. The only one of these lots that have a lift is Toll House, and it’s a prolonged ride on a fixed-grip chairlift.  If you don’t pay for parking, get ready to face some gnarly fines. It will cost $75 for not paying on-site or on the app, and then if you don’t pay within ten days, the fine increases to $100.

I think the best route here was for Vail to reintroduce reservations at Stowe, which they did in 2020-21 across their ski resorts pretty efficiently. They went this route instead and pissed off practically everyone in the community. It’s a good thing other nearby mountains still have free parking.

Stowe 22-23 Trail Map Image Credits: Stowe Mountain Resort

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