As people fled cities during the pandemic and the new work-from-home economy grew, urbanites brought traffic to mountain playgrounds across the country. It’s just the reality of the population movement, which we have all witnessed over the past few years. Some towns have dealt with it better than others, addressing some of the key factors that lead to congestion on the roadways.
The way we see it is there are four major factors that contribute to heavy traffic in ski resort towns:
- Limited access roads: Many ski resort towns are located in remote or mountainous areas, which means there are limited access roads in and out of the town. This can lead to traffic congestion during peak seasons when many visitors are trying to enter or exit the town.
- High volume of visitors: Ski resort towns attract a large number of visitors during peak seasons, which can lead to increased traffic on the roads. This has grown as skiing has grown in popularity.
- Limited parking: Ski resort towns often have limited parking, which means that visitors may spend more time driving around looking for a place to park, adding to traffic congestion.
- Weather conditions: Winter weather conditions such as snow and ice can make driving more difficult and slow traffic, adding to the congestion. Large snowstorms also draw more people to the ski areas adding more cars and trucks to the roads is the worst time.
All of these factors combined can make traffic in ski resort towns particularly challenging and frustrating, especially during peak seasons.
So which ski resort towns have the worst traffic? There is not much hard data to go by on this one, so our list is very opinionated and anecdotal, but from talking to skiers from across the country and spending many years traveling to ski areas in dozens of states, these towns seem to have real issues with local traffic.
Some ski resort towns with notoriously bad traffic include:
- Vail, Colorado
- Aspen, Colorado
- Park City, Utah
- Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
- Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
- Breckenridge, Colorado
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Mammoth Lakes, California
- Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Killington, Vermont.
- Stowe, Vermont
- Little Cottonwood Canyon (Snowbird / Alta), Utah
I wish we had some constructive solutions to dealing with the traffic situation facing many ski towns across the United States but sadly, it’s a difficult problem that has no simple solution. As skiing and snowboarding continue to grow in popularity it’s hard to see a way in which we can reduce the number of vehicles on the road without some creative solutions.