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Park City Mountain calls first year of paid parking a success

Park City Mountain parking
Park City Mountain paid parking reservations started Dec. 12.

Saying “mission accomplished,” Park City Mountain executives are delighted with the results of their first year of a paid parking and reservation system.

For the first time since mid-December, parking at the base of Park City Mountain is free, with no minimum number of carpoolers required and no reservations needed.

Park City Mountain COO Deirdra Walsh said while tweaks are still needed, her team believes the first year of requiring paid parking and reservations can go down as a success.

“The intention of this program was two-fold; one, to improve the circulation around the base area, and secondly, to drive higher vehicle occupancy and have our guests use public transportation when available,” Walsh said. “And I think overall, the experience has been vastly improved.”

Mike Lewis, senior director of base operations, said the overall parking experience was improved by decreasing congestion using a reservation system and charging $25 a day to park cars with fewer than four people in them.

“The reservations provided certainty. The paid, people in the car carpooling and transit, with that incredible carpool incentive. And then we also reimagined our traffic flow about both the Mountain Village and Canyons Village just around the base area to efficiently move traffic around. How do we decrease congestion? It worked. We tracked travel times around the resort and Park City and travel times to the resort were consistent and characterized as like a steady flow. So, no more than 2% of our days had a backup of more than 5% of the Mountain Village.”

That was accomplished by getting vehicles to park at multiple lots at one time and spreading them out.

Lewis said they saw an average of 63% of cars carpooling and that jumped to nearly 70% on weekends. High Valley Transit reports a 20% region-wide increase in transit ridership this winter.

Cars with fewer than four occupants frequently used the high school, so the buses were less packed and waiting times more manageable. And even without a drop in guest visitation, he said the total number of vehicles at the Mountain Village and Park City High School on weekends and holidays was lower than last year.

“Instead of the historical behavior of people getting up at some really early time, to race to the Mountain Village base area, hoping they got a spot, they knew, if they planned ahead, they had a spot that day, between 8:30 and 1 p.m. It was just a delightful experience getting to the resort this year. Now, I won't say it was perfect, but we were pretty proud of what we did and continue to look forward to improving it moving forward.”

As to whether the system will be used at the Canyons Village next season, he wouldn’t say, other than the experience at the Canyons also worked well.

With two more weeks of skiing and riding, the resort is starting to wind down for the season but will still have access to all of the terrain through April 16. The final week will be accessed from the Mountain Village with eight lifts scheduled to stay open including Three Kings, First Time, Payday, Bonanza, Silverlode, McConkey’s Jupiter and Thaynes.

Pond skimming is Saturday at the base of the Eagle Race Arena where 150 skimmers will vie for the best overall skim, biggest splash and best costume. Registration is $20.

Spring Gruv with daily après live music runs through April 7.