On first day of sales, Stowe parking pass plan gets chilly reception
STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - Passes went on sale Tuesday for a controversial new parking plan at Stowe Mountain Resort this season. And based on reactions from skiers and riders we spoke with, the proposal is getting a frosty reception.
Leaf peepers may be crowding the Mountain Road in Stowe now, but in just about a month hordes of skiers and snowboarders will flock to the mountain, and along with them the perennial long lines of traffic that clog the narrow two-lane road.
Under new rules this winter, people will have to pay $30 to park at Stowe Mountain Resort on weekends and holidays. Parking after 2 p.m. or if you’re in a car carrying four or more people will remain free.
“That’s great if you have a family or four. Not so much if you’re just an individual going in the morning, trying to take a few laps in the morning ride for two hours and then get out of there,” said skier Bettina Guevara.
Stowe is also selling a parking pass for $450, but that does not guarantee a spot. Those season parking passes quickly sold out shortly after they went on sale Tuesday evening.
Guevara lives in Burlington and works in Stowe. “Imagine paying that much money and just getting shafted every single weekend because you’re like, ‘I don’t need to leave until 8 a.m. And then you’re SOL - that sucks,” Guevara said
The plan has drawn sharp criticism on social media. The popular New England resort has become busier in recent years after being acquired by Vail Resorts and offering the Epic Pass -- which is significantly cheaper than passes before Vail came to town.
Officials say the new parking plan is one piece of cutting down on the resort’s traffic problem, in addition to encouraging carpooling and public transportation. “We want everybody to come, we want the best access possible for as many people as possible. That’s going to require everyone working together and doing our part within this parking plan and similar approaches,” said the resort’s Adam White.
White also adds that the influx of visitors to the mountain isn’t just because of skiing. He says Stowe has become a destination for visitors all seasons of the year. “It’s about how you visit the resort when you visit the resort and what part of this plan works best for you.”
Meanwhile, the resort continues with efforts to expand parking. Stowe’s Development Review Board last year shot down a proposal to build a 280-space lot down the road in the Harlow Hill neighborhood. Vail is appealing the decision in Environmental Court and stakeholders are heading to mediation next week.
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