If you love Utah skiing, please get involved immediately with constructive solutions, positive possibilities, a group effort is drastically needed with the best of ALL in mind. Otherwise Utah skiing is going to QUICKLY change by the decisions of a few people. Feel free to share and cut and paste this…
The buses that go to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird are custom buses. They cost $600k each and take 28-months to receive AFTER ordering. Regular buses do NOT work, the gearing is wrong and they don’t work in even light snow on the steep slopes. They have ALREADY been tested in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood and do NOT work, even when empty. There is controversy over who should pay for these additional custom buses, but they are YEARS away from arriving. Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird know this.
Many sources say that the other resorts are HIGHLY likely to soon follow the paid parking example of Solitude. They will let them take the heat, spin it positive, and likely implement soon after. Especially Alta since studies have already been done on their parking lots. In Alta, some days over 25% of available spaces are taken up by snow-shoers, cross-country skiers, backcountry skiers, kids playing in snow, and sports car club meetups in the parking lots. All this is money losing for Alta and takes away parking spots from potential paying skiers. It has also been seen at Brighton and Solitude, but is worst at Alta. Speak up now to make a difference!
The ski resorts are looking for ways to boost profits. Compared to California and other places, Utah resorts actually have quite a large uphill capacity (lifts) and short wait times. So getting more paying bodies on the mountain is a MAIN goal of each resort. The resorts see limitations currently as limited parking and congested canyon entry roads. They will implement changes to get the increased profit.
Unfortunately, whatever parking “solution” and road restrictions Utah does is likely to be copied by resorts nationwide. Which is a great reason to get involved now.
If you do the math of parking revenue at Solitude for paid daily parking and paid season parking passes, it is easily over a whopping $1-million a season. Do you really think other resorts won’t follow and do the same?
Solitude/Brighton/Alta have specified number of max parking in their leases. It is not easy to get approval to add more spaces, especially with conservation groups so opposed.
Solitude recently VOLUNTARILY built their entire village on one of their parking lots, knowingly removing over 400 parking spots that they cannot get back. Solitude VOLUNTARILY partnered with Ikon Pass for unlimited skiing, knowingly increasing the number of cars drastically.
If you are done skiing Solitude and want to leave by bus, currently most buses are already full with people coming down from Brighton. So you HAVE to get on the bus going up to Brighton, remain on bus there, just to come back down again. Already long bus waits and a very long time on bus. Sound fun?
One of the reasons Solitude implemented paid parking was they witnessed many people parking at Solitude and then take the bus from there to Brighton (when road to Brighton is backed up). Hence, Brighton people taking spots from Solitude customers. Supposedly this is why the Solbright trail was ungroomed over half the season last year to make it hard for them to get back to Solitude.
The police and UDOT are very unhappy that so many people park on the street and walk to resorts, especially Brighton. It is dangerous and slows traffic even further. With paid Solitude parking, many more people are expected to park on street and walk in, increasing road congestion even more and quicker.
Supposedly Solitude implemented paid parking completely on their own without consulting or warning government agencies, and not everyone is happy about it. Many feel it will not solve anything, but actually make bus wait times and road congestion worse before anything can be done to increase bus capacity.
UDOT already has bus usage data from past seasons. Bus capacity to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird is currently pretty full. Car parking at lots at canyon bottoms is very limited and often full. Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird know this.
Some are already starting legislation to make it illegal to drive up to Solitude/Brighton/Alta/Snowbird during winter unless you have at least 3-passengers or can prove you live or work there. They hope to have it enforced by police at base of canyons. Speak up now if you disagree.
UDOT has already done studies the last 2-ski-seasons. They have spent months in the cold counting cars going up the canyon, notating how many occupants. Supposedly 25% are solo drivers. These studies are complete.
Studies have shown Solitude employees alone often have over 50+ vehicles taking up at least the entire first row from Moonbeam Lift to Eagle Lift, most solo drivers. It will be very easy to watch between 7:00am and 8:30am and see if they carpool as promised.
I’ve spoken with several people who used to eat meals at Solitude, especially the yummy curry at roundhouse. But with surprise paid parking, they are going to bring food instead. If many do this, Solitude is not making the profits they counted on.
Good news is supposedly money has already been allocated to buy part of the gravel pit at mouth of Big Cottonwood and build a big multi-level parking garage. But details of who will pay for buses and other details are unagreed upon so far. Construction will take years. Bus only lanes bypassing the busy Wasatch/Big Cottowood intersection are expected to be hampered by conservation groups also.
Access to Snowbird and Alta on big powderdays often has Little Cottonwood canyon closures and avalanche controls. This makes Big Cottonwood more congested on those days.
Studies have been completed on adding snow tunnels to Little Cottonwood in problem avalanche areas. But there is controversy over who will pay for them.
Studies have ALREADY been completed on Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood traffic. There are ALREADY solutions and costs complete for redoing roads, bus lanes, gondolas, trams, and more. ALL these are expected to be thwarted by conservation groups. Even if large parking structures were miraculously approved at Solitude/Brighton/Alta, conservation groups are expected to stop them (plus current roads can’t handle the higher traffic anyways). If true, more buses and bigger parking lots at canyon mounts might be the only solution.
Unfortunately, all the government agencies and resorts are currently NOT working together on the parking and road congestion problems. It will take public pressure and accountability to make it so…
Speak up now! Or decisions will be made by a few…