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Brighton Resort Puts New Parking Policy In Place

Brighton Ski Resort

A second Utah ski resort is changing its parking policy to favor carpooling amid concerns about traffic congestion in the Cottonwood Canyons.   

Brighton Resort is now designating its prime parking areas for visitors with three or more people  in their cars on holidays, weekends and powder days.

Brighton Resort Director of Marketing Jared  Winkler tells KPCW they began changing things up last season but set policy for this ski season.

“We’re just encouraging people to carpool, or ride share or take public transportation,” Winkler said. “We have our main lot and on weekends and holidays – it’s been filling up and our overflow lot fills up and we’ve been having to turn people away and  so we got the idea last season to park carpoolers in our main lot and park single occupant drivers in our overflow lot  and it worked last year and we tried it and it worked great - so we tried it a few times this season and it continues to work great so we set it at as a policy.”

For those single occupants, they’ll be directed to the overflow lot and will have to either walk or wait for a shuttle. Winkler says they found that it works a lot better to let the larger parties have the closer parking. It’s easier for single guests to jump on the shuttle – than larger groups  - and  it makes for a quicker shuttle loops.

For those who may arrive after all of the parking is full – Winkler says they’ll have to drive back down the canyon…

“It’s been happening for a few years now - when we’re full, we’re full,” he said.  There’s nothing we can do about it.  All we can do right now is encourage people to take public transportation carpool or show up later in the day one or the other. Everybody wants to start riding right at 9 a.m. People get there around 9:30 or so to a line in the canyon and that line takes a half hour or 45 minutes to get into the parking lot and the best thing we can do is reward the people who are carpooling and put the other people in our overflow lot.”

He estimates that at least half of the vehicles they part are for single occupant drivers – and none of them are employees…

“We stress highly with our employees they all carpool they take public transportation,” said Winkler. “We pay for busses just for employees to drive them up. We pay for the rideshare van. We’re doing a lot that we can do that people may not know we’re doing  to leave our parking for our guests. But it’s popular when the skiing is great – it’s almost too good -  and so we get a lot of people wanting to go all at the same time. When that happens, we need to have a plan to make it a little easier. In our eyes it is easier for one single person to get out of their car  and get in a shuttle than a family of 4 or 5 when you have a dad trying to pick up all of his kids skis and walk to the ski resort and carry it in the shuttle and carry it out of the shuttle -- it just slows down the process.”

He says the policy applies to the busiest times. They’re not trying to turn anyone away – so they felt like they had to put in some rules.   

At this point, he says the policy change is not a precursor to institute to paid parking – but if they were to charge for parking, he says it wouldn’t be unusual…

“We don’t have any plan to charge to park – that I know of,” he said.  “But it is tough – people aren’t used to it. I think that Solitude is doing the best they can to make it work and maybe they’re leading the charge for other resorts. But people need to remember that you go to Disneyland now have to pay to park – other resorts around the nation all pay to park, Lagoon you pay to park, there’s no way you’re going to be able to go to go downtown without paying to park, and so unfortunately, parking at ski resorts might be the future.”

Neighboring Solitude Resort began charging for parking this year, with the highest prices being paid by single drivers. Officials there say it was to reduce traffic rather than make money.

Both Brighton and Solitude are part of the Ikon Pass products – two of 41 resort destinations across the world.