How much is ski parking space worth?

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How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:54 pm

We're about to find out per this release from Eldora. I figure the first several weeks will go over like a lead balloon, especially given the short notice:


Dear Eldora Guest,

As part of Eldora’s comprehensive PLAY FOREVER sustainability initiative, we are making changes to address the traffic and congestion issues that affect our guests on peak-visitation days during the mountain’s winter operating season. Eldora is motivated to address traffic and congestion to protect the environment, to improve the guest experience, and to improve access on peak visitation days (weekends, holidays, and TBD weather-driven high-visitation days between 12/15/18 and 4/14/15).

Changes include the following:
FREE PARKING - COME WITH THREE, PARK FOR FREE! Every day of the season, vehicles carrying three or more passengers to Eldora will park for free. On most non-peak-visitation days—roughly 70% of the season—any vehicle, no matter how many passengers, will also park for free. LEARN MORE

FREE RTD BUS PASSES - Eldora will provide free bus day passes (good for round trip on the N Route) to all riders on the 8:10 AM and 10:10 AM RTD N Route buses from Boulder Transit Center (1800 14th St) to Eldora on certain Saturdays and Sundays through the peak season. This offer will initially take place on 12/8–9 and 12/15–16, with additional weekends to be determined. LEARN MORE

PAY PARKING - On peak-visitation days—Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and to-be-determined high-traffic week days between December 15 and April 14—vehicles with fewer than three occupants will be required to pay a per-vehicle parking fee of $20 at a parking payment kiosk or through a smartphone app. LEARN MORE

It is our hope that these new initiatives will encourage all of us to work together to address congestion and emissions and help protect the places we love to play.

Sincerely,
The Eldora Team
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:18 pm

Standard operating procedure at Vail Resorts, regardless of vehicle occupancy. Making all the parking pay and disallowing overnight parking are among the factors alienating the Whistler locals.
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby ShiftyRider » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:24 pm

Re the OP, getting more skiers in less cars is definitely the way to go and I support that.

The counterpoint of course is ski areas with large parking lots (almost always on public land), where the dividing line between pay parking and free parking is completely arbitrary ("Let's rope off the closest four lanes, and hire one extra parking lot employee.") That's a scenario where those spots would absolutely be free if nobody was willing to pay, so please folks DON'T BE WILLING TO PAY.</common sense>
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:13 pm

Well, the email on pay-to-park is definitely the talk of the chair lift. Not surprisingly, no one I heard speaking positively about it (including multiple rides with strangers where they were simply talking among themselves about it).

Still not sure how in the world they will be able to tell who has 3+ in each car in a manner that won't completely -bleep- up the flow of cars into the parking lot. Frankly they frequently struggle parking cars at a good pace today, before they even attempt this change. But that is their worry. I think they may be surprised that it may work too well. If you're going to pay $20 for a ski day with a spouse/friend or dad/son or whatever, why would you go to Eldora anymore? Head to the free lots at WP or Copper and spend the $ on gas while skiing a much bigger and better mountain (and more often than not also deeper/better snow)?

Eldora does, for at least one more year (they are trying to get permitted an expansion of the parking lots by quite a bit), have a significant parking issue. But not sure this is close to the right way to handle the issue. Especially long after people have signed up for passes and kids programs, etc... under a different set of assumptions. My guess is they'll end up pissing a lot of people off as much if not more than actually solving the parking issues. It also doesn't help themselves that for years and years Eldora has very specifically spent a lot of time and $ advertising its free parking close to the lifts either.

Only time will tell though. Boulder County does have a ton of ultra rich for whom $20 to park is meaningless. Question is how many of them ski and for how many of even the rich will the method of implementation piss them off anyway?

I may not be at Eldora for a couple weeks so should be some good stories before I am back up there. Super interested to see what happens of course.

Oh and for Shiftyrider: The base lodges, beginner zone and parking lots, etc.. are all on private land. It's most of the upper mountain that is on NFS land for Eldora (plus a couple of old mining claims Eldora pays to lease access to). But Boulder County being Boulder County there is a ridiculously lengthy review process to expand the parking lots on the privately owned property. Thus going on year two of county review, all for a parking lot.
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby flyover » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:21 pm

It seems to me that any ski area that starts charging $20 for formerly-free parking is going to get an earful from angry customers. It also seems like the volume of the complaints may be greater at an area where locals represent a lot of the customer base. IMHO however, a surefire way to maximize backlash is to send long-time customers an email telling them that the primary method by which the "guest experience" will be improved will be an additional $20 charge with no improvement in service.

Perhaps the free bus passes would seem like a gracious solution if they were offered on every day Eldora will charge for parking.

For reasons raised by EMSC, it does sound like the 3-person rule could be problematic.

Eldora must think they will make more money by charging for parking and losing the business of some unknown number of skiers rather than simply keeping the parking free, taking the risk that the scene in the lots might deteriorate to full-on Mad Max, and continuing to sell as many lift tickets as possible.
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:26 am

flyover wrote:Eldora must think they will make more money by charging for parking and losing the business of some unknown number of skiers rather than simply keeping the parking free


The stated goal/desire is actually to NOT make any money off parking, but to try to change behavior to accommodate more people (they get multiple days, mostly Saturdays, where they have to turn cars away by 9:20 or so in the morning). I know most of the leadership up there, and believe they are honest in thinking of that as the goal; but I also don't think they really thought the change all the way through...
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:41 pm

There was a similar parking change implemented at Big Bear after Mammoth took over: viewtopic.php?t=11973

In the ensuing offline correspondence with Mammoth, the policy was defended as helping out the families who may not get there at opening bell but don't want to be exiled to the Brownie lot and cattle car shuttle. They also said that employees were no longer allowed to park in the upper lot at Snow Summit. Mammoth also upgraded lessons/rentals and some of the food and beverage at Big Bear. They also raised ticket prices, which is not necessarily a great idea in a daytrip, price sensitive market.

I've only been there once since Dec. 2015, and since that was midweek in late March 2017 there was no parking charge. I don't know how the changes have gone over in the long run or if there have been modifications, but the locals were not happy about the changes in parking, operating hours and prices in Dec. 2015. I'll follow up with Garry who skis there a lot, but he is retired like me and only skis Big Bear midweek so he may not know much more than I do.
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby ShiftyRider » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:52 pm

The Brownie lot is fine, if/when they run the shuttles correctly. But these are insular mountain folk who have no clue about customer service, so once in awhile there will be problems.

One of my days last season I broke a snowboard binding so I had to go back to grab my tele gear. The first 4 or 5 shuttles claimed they were going somewhere else, not the Brownie lot, so they gave nobody a ride who was waiting there at Snow Summit, and proceeded to drive down the hill right by the Brownie lot, empty. I think I waited 35 minutes for the downhill (the return uphill was a non-issue).

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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:59 am

Aaaannnnddd.... parking fees dropped before ever being implemented - for the time being... The criticism was quite withering to say the least. I expect some sort of return of a paid parking option at some point given the definite parking issues that are quite real up there. Just cannot do the style and short notice implementation that they tried IMHO. Have to be better ways to skin that proverbial cat.

https://theknow.denverpost.com/2018/12/12/eldora-parking-fees-change/203893/
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby ShiftyRider » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:20 pm

parking fees dropped
Thanks! For those interested in the executive summary, the article seems to indicate that EMSC has never hollered "Dropping!" in the ski context (where it means "Gang way, I'm about to descend!").

At least for now, the fee went away (not went lower).
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:37 pm

ShiftyRider wrote:
parking fees dropped
Thanks! For those interested in the executive summary, the article seems to indicate that EMSC has never hollered "Dropping!" in the ski context (where it means "Gang way, I'm about to descend!").

At least for now, the fee went away (not went lower).


Ha! :-o

In normal conversational terms, for me and those I grew up with and even currently interact with, "Dropped" = removed/eliminated. For 'went lower' I'd use "reduced" as the terminology. Kind of like dropping a tool on the floor or something; it went all the way to the ground/bottom, not just down a little bit.

Reflects a regional dialect (eg soda vs pop)? :-s
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby tseeb » Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:19 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Standard operating procedure at Vail Resorts, regardless of vehicle occupancy. Making all the parking pay and disallowing overnight parking are among the factors alienating the Whistler locals.
Not at their resorts in CA or UT so far although both Kirkwood (only on busy days/weekends) and Northstar (every day) have some premium parking where you have to pay. I could see a lot of Kirkwood's parking (and maybe upper lot at Boulder) becoming pay or carpool as they've already had at least one day this season where many customers were unhappy because they were turned away as parking filled including lot at Kirkwood Inn over a mile from nearest lift.

One change in the last year at Tahoe is that Harrah's and Harvey's casino have gone to pay parking everyday unless you have a high-roller card (not just Gold card). During Summer of 2017, it was only pay parking during bigger events like The Who concert where you had to pay even though it was mid-week. Before this season, Harrah's didn't mind that skiers parked in their lot and walked 1/4 mile to Heavenly's gondola, often the only access to mountain in early and late season. It did not seem like their was a big conflict between skiers and gamblers as skiers did not take the closest in spaces and there is usually plenty of parking during the day at casino. I think there is still free parking for skiers behind Hard Rock casino, but that is way too far to walk in boots so you are stuck shuttling. I hope casinos revenue take a hit and they have to re-consider making people pay to park at lots when they are less than 1/2 full. There also is an under-utilized parking garage near the gondola base as CA skiers don't want to pay $30 to park for skiing.

Another more recent change is that Heavenly has discontinued shuttles from transit center near gondola to and from NV bases. I rode one the last time I skied Firebreak to get back to my car well after lifts had closed and it wasn't the last shuttle of the day. It seems like they still need to be ready to shuttle people because if gondola, Tamarack and Dipper chairs close (which they often do from wind) there is no easy way back to CA base where I assume there are still shuttles to gondola base.
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby EMSC » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:57 pm

And next up in the carpool/pay parking game we have ABasin. Albeit with a fairly different plan than Eldora tried. Only one of several parking lots will impacted...

http://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/2018/12/new-carpool-and-pay-parking-plan.html
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby jimk » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:58 am

It’s well known that Little Cottonwood Canyon has a serious parking/traffic problem on 20 or 30 peak days each season. The worst is when there is new powder on a Saturday morning. Not only is parking scarce at Snowbird and Alta, but new snow can cause big delays just entering the Canyon including two hour road closures for plowing and avalanche mitigation. There is still a lot of free parking at both resorts, but they’ve talked about going to paid parking for a number of years to force more carpooling to reduce traffic. The UTA buses can be a fine way to get to the ski areas on routine days, but quickly get overwhelmed on peak days or halted like everyone else by canyon closures. Maybe a reasonable first step is to keep some parking free to all, but make some parking paid or free only to vehicles with multiple passengers?

I've heard talk of making a tunnel or tram from SLC up to Alta/Bird, but that seems unlikely for about another century :-D
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Re: How much is ski parking space worth?

Postby Marc_C » Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:47 pm

jimk wrote:I've heard talk of making a tunnel or tram from SLC up to Alta/Bird, but that seems unlikely for about another century :-D

Or two.
Or three.
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