For the past 20-years, efforts to reduce traffic on the route to Teton Village near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY have been largely successful according to a new report. But record-breaking crowds, vehicles, and full buses and parking lots this season may force the resort to rethink and make changes for next season.
As required by the resort’s 1988 master plan, every two years Teton Village produces a report on how well it’s managing and minimizing traffic on the road between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the town. That plan called for measures like employer-purchased bus passes for workers, expansions to the pathway system connecting town and the Village, free transit from Stilson, paid parking at the Village and an incentive to carpool, reports the Jackson Hole News and Guide.
According to this latest report, skier visits have increased 67 percent since 1998, employees in the Village have increased 78 percent and lodging beds have increased 143 percent. Despite this huge increase in people getting to the resort, the weekday traffic volume has increased only 17 percent and weekend 16 percent. Without the traffic management plan, an analysis predicts that weekend traffic volumes would be at 12,300 to 13,500 vehicles per day rather than the current 8,700.
“We’re really proud of this success,” said Melissa Turley, director of the Teton Village Association, “to show that in the midst of increased development, increased skier days, we’ve been able to maintain those traffic counts.”
Disgruntled locals at many resorts, not just Jackson Hole, are blaming the Ikon Pass and its competitor, the Epic Pass, for crowded slopes, long lift lines, and full parking lots this winter. But that’s not the whole story, as many resorts have seen record snowfall which is just as culpable in drawing the people to the slopes.
- Related: Great Snow and Not the Ikon Pass is Responsible For Increased Skier Visits Writes Aspen Skiing Co. President
“It’s no big secret there’s been a bit of a paradigm shift this year in the number of people skiing at JHMR,” Teton County Commissioner Greg Epstein said at a meeting last week. “And a lot of it is the number of people actually driving to the ski area.”
To approach the crowds head-on, discussions are underway at Jackson Hole to fix transportation problems for next season, with a number of potential ideas:
- increasing the day rates for parking as well as season passes
- increasing parking at Stilson
- requiring vehicles to carry four people to qualify for free parking at the Ranch Lot. The current carpool minimum is three
Commissioner Mark Barron suggested the next steps for managing Village traffic are master planning Stilson, increasing the frequency and number of summer trips from town to Teton Village and increasing commuter trips on transit.