News Search

Vail Resorts Tahoe Properties to Institute Paid Parking, Carpool Incentives

  • Push to The Latest: No

SAM Magazine—Lake Tahoe, Calif., March 24, 2023—Starting winter 2023-24, Vail Resorts-owned Northstar California, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort in the Lake Tahoe region will implement paid parking for certain lots in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion and parking shortages on weekends, holidays, and peak periods. SAM HNAll three will still offer free parking opportunities daily. 

Parking will be free for vehicles with four or more passengers at all three resorts; otherwise, the plans vary slightly. Heavenly and Northstar, for example, will require guests to make advance reservations online for the paid parking lots no matter the occupancy of the vehicle; Kirkwood is not requiring advance reservations. The flat rate for Heavenly and Northstar will be $20 per vehicle; Kirkwood will charge $35. 

Parking will be free with no reservations required after noon at Heavenly and after 1 p.m. at Northstar. Kirkwood appears to be a paid system regardless of arrival time.

According to the press release from Vail Resorts, the new parking plans were informed by each resort’s traffic patterns and existing parking policies as well as practices at other VR properties that have instituted paid parking and carpool incentives. 

“[T]he company has found that carpool incentives reduce vehicle volumes even with similar resort visitation by encouraging more people per vehicle,” it said in the release. “At Park City Mountain [Utah], more than 60 percent of cars using paid/reservation lots during the 2022-23 season qualified for free parking thanks to carpooling incentives.” And reservations have been shown to spread out arrival times and reduce congestion as cars roam for spots, the company said.

“We anticipate a real improvement to traffic and parking availability, and we are grateful for the support and collaboration from our community partners in both North and South Lake Tahoe,” said Tom Fortune, VP and COO of Heavenly and the Tahoe Region. 

“Addressing the traffic issues that impact our community is a key priority for the South Lake Tahoe City Council, but we can’t do it alone,” said Cody Bass, South Lake Tahoe City Council member and board member of both the Tahoe Transportation District and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, who called the new plans “an exciting announcement” that will help to promote carpooling and public transportation use.
South Lake Tahoe city manager Joe Irvin said the new parking policies are “a clear solution that will help alleviate congestion and traffic flow through our community,” noting the city has worked closely with the resort this season to “address some of the most challenging weather and traffic days our community has experienced in recent memory.”

Tony Karwowski, president and CEO of the North Tahoe Community Alliance, said Northstar’s plan is an “example of operationalizing destination stewardship strategies to reduce visitation impact when it is needed most, during peak periods.” 

Vail Resorts has implemented paid parking at some of its Eastern resorts, too, starting with Mount Snow, Vt., in 2021-22, which the company said was in an effort to “improve the guest experience.” Mount Snow does not offer guests any incentives to carpool. 

Paid parking was also put in place ahead of the 2022-23 season at Stowe Mountain Resort, Vt., where traffic and parking have been problematic in recent years. Stowe offers the same carpooling incentive that the company’s Tahoe-area resorts will next season—free parking for vehicles with four or more people for every lot, every day.