The 5 Ski Resorts With the Worst Traffic

Haleigh Hafner |
PC: Milehightraveler, IStock Photos

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite part of any ski trip: traffic. Traffic to some resorts is so bad it can feel like you’re waiting in line for Disney World. Skiers can experience overcrowded interstates and standstill traffic as vacationers and locals race to see who will get to the parking garage first. 

During peak vacation times, the traffic at ski resorts all over the United States is almost unbearable, and it can add at least an hour to your travel time. This hour doesn’t even account for the walk from the parking garage to the lifts. Dealing with this traffic can make anyone feel like they’re going insane. 

Not only does traffic damper everyone’s moods, but it also is a major factor negatively affecting air quality. For example, Salt Lake City has been dealing with a massive air quality issue since the 1920s. Research conducted by many doctors in the area has proven that reducing traffic would significantly increase air quality levels. Poor air quality can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart diseases, lung cancer, and more. Humans cannot live in these conditions and stay healthy. 

While traffic at any resort during peak season will be rough, some resorts constantly face a massive traffic issue. Keep reading to see five ski resorts with the worst cases of traffic.

  1. Stowe, VT

    Nighttime standstill traffic in Stowe (PC: Gordon Miller, Stowe Reporter)
    • Traffic in Stowe was significantly worse during the 2021-22 ski season. Although the traffic in Stowe has been heavy since 2017, when Vail Resorts purchased it, the price slash to the Epic pass for the 2021-22 season drew bigger crowds than ever. In February, Stowe police reported traffic jams that were hours long. As one can imagine, skiers who decided to ski at Stowe on those crowded days were anything but happy with the insane traffic. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in Stowe.
  2. Park City, UT

    Driving through downtown Park City is a nightmare at peak driving times. (PC: Park Record)
    • Traffic in Park City has gotten to an insufferable level that locals can no longer live with. Park City locals are becoming concerned about the state of their city and are seeking solutions to the traffic crisis. The problem has caused locals to voice their concerns directly to Vail Resorts by creating a petition. According to KSL News, the petition calls upon the Talisker Group to evict Vail Resorts from Canyons Resort. Locals are speaking out, claiming the resort wasn’t prepared for the overcrowding on the mountain this season. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in Park City.
  3. Vail, CO

    Interstate 70
    Maneuvering Vail Pass in the Winter
    • Vail is notorious for constantly having the worst traffic. The mountain’s proximity to other powerhouse resorts like Beaver Creek and Breckenridge adds to the massive pileup that can be found on I-70 almost daily during peak ski season. This December, the Colorado Department of Transportation warned drivers traveling on I-70 of expected traffic unlike anything in the past. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in Vail.
  4. Heavenly Resort, Lake Tahoe

    Photo from a 35-mile traffic jam in Lake Tahoe. (PC: Kurt Hildebrand, The Record-Courier)
    • Lake Tahoe’s popularity and traffic going to Reno, NV, causes a massive bottleneck issue for visitors trying to get into Heavenly resorts. Traffic going to Heavenly can be extremely dangerous when road conditions become anything less than subpar. The South Lake Tahoe Highway Patrol has reported multiple incidents that could cause significant accidents if traffic becomes congested. One of the worst instances was when a massive boulder fell onto US-50, closing both lanes. Traffic in these treacherous conditions becomes twice as dangerous. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in South Lake Tahoe.
  5. Breckenridge, CO

    Photo of a terrible day on I-70 from the Breck Blog
    • Breckenridge’s traffic problem stems from the massive I-70 pileup of skiers and snowboarders trying to get to surrounding resorts. Breckenridge town council members are very aware of this issue. According to Summit Daily News, the Breckenridge Town Council is currently researching innovative ways to combat the town’s overcrowding. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in Breckenridge.

If you want to ski the biggest and best resorts, you must suck it up and spend quality time with your car. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid the traffic. However, you can always beat the crowds by being on the first chair. As they always say, the early bird gets the worm!

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12 thoughts on “The 5 Ski Resorts With the Worst Traffic

  1. Live in Summit County….other than Abasin all other ski areas are bad on regular weekends especially Texanridge, which is crazy to drive to/thru anytime! As Denver has grown so has headache, even in the Summer.

  2. Squaw Alpine is gotta be way worse than some of those…seems like altera/ikon pass resorts got a free pass to the list…a little biased

  3. Ski resorts should have to pay to widen the roads. They should transfer this cost via increased season passes and lift tickets. This will push people away from the sport which will cause less traffic on the roads.

    Let’s make the people who get the benefit of the roads pay for what they use and allow some supply/economics go to work. Market economics has a beautiful tendency to solve problems when used appropriately.

    Does anyone else remember pre-super-pass ski experience? It was definitely not the zoo that it is today.

  4. Don’t forget to put that POW sticker on your suv so others can see your concern while stuck in a traffic jam.

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