After this Season’s Record Crowds Jackson Hole, WY Having to Rethink Traffic Management

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Jackson Hole, parking, over crowding, Wyoming, ikon pass
Credit: Teton Village Association / Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

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.”

Big crowds at JHMR in February 2019. Credit: Jerry of the Day

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.

“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.

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3 thoughts on “After this Season’s Record Crowds Jackson Hole, WY Having to Rethink Traffic Management

  1. Hard to blame the crowds on the IKON pass, you only get 5 or 7 days at JH. he problem is that the road is not adequate for the traffic. The solution is to run a light rail line from town to the resort. Problem solved! Sure it costs some $$, as if we tourists don’t drop enough of that to pay for it!

    Seriously, the bus “system” is so bad that the 49’er hires private busses!

    Please fix this!

    The other problem is the lack of employee housing. Pretty sure I was there the day that picture as taken. The problem was that employees couldn’t get to work. Sorry but forcing your employees to live in Idaho is pretty stupid. Sure you want to sell McMansions for top $, but when your worker bees can’t get to work and the lift are not running and you have a crowd like this…..

    JH is great, just needs a few improvements to the infrastructure to handle the success.

  2. It’s the Ikon and Epic passes because if the snow fall was an indication of crowds,then most every resort/area would be crowded. Thats not the case,the big pass companies are “taking over” the industry and the problems that come with it……………don’t matter because of $$$$$$. Same old story in the US

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