Jackson Hole’s President Admits Overcrowding Problem in 2019

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Big crowds at JHMR in February 2019. image: jerry of the day

According to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) president Mary Kate Buckley, Jackson Hole is experiencing overcrowding this season.

“Record snow has attracted crowds that are straining our infrastructure, employees and locals.” – JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley in an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Mary Kate wrote an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide this week admitting this problem, outlining its causes, and proposing solutions.

Mary Kate blames Jackson Hole’s record snow year (473″ so far this year and 193″ in February alone) for the overcrowding.

“The relentless flow of guests creates long lines, traffic issues, insufficient parking and packed restaurants. The Teton Village Association is plowing more than ever, but there is so much snow that there’s no place to move it; snow piles have consumed up to 180 parking spaces. We’ve encouraged START bus ridership to alleviate parking demand, but buses are overflowing. On multiple days the Wyoming Department of Transportation has closed Teton Pass. Many of our employees must drive hours to get to work, contributing to delayed openings and, in turn, base area crowds. The stress can be overwhelming, and the rumor mill perpetuating misinformation adds unnecessary complications.” – JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley in an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Mary Kate explains that everyone, including locals, are skiing more this season.

“Skier days are up 11 percent season to date. That increase includes season pass usage, (up 7 percent) and “comp” tickets (up 4 percent). Season to date, local residents make up 39 percent of our total skiers versus Ikon Pass holders, representing 16 percent. Roughly 50 percent of Ikon Pass holders migrated from a different lift ticket product they purchased in previous years, i.e., window tickets, Mountain Collective passes or a package deal. Each of those products has decreased significantly. Net-net we attribute Ikon Pass holders as adding 8 percent incremental skier visits.” – JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley in an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Stock image of the Jackson Hole Tram in a Blizzard. image: snowbrains

Mary Kate admits that the Ikon Pass has increased visitation but explains that it was a necessary step for JHMR and that they signed a multi-year deal, so the Ikon Pass isn’t going anywhere soon.

While our owners, the Kemmerer family, are committed to retaining independent ownership, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort recognized that we might not be able to survive as a stand-alone destination resort. In October 2017 the resort signed an agreement committing Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to multiyear participation in the Ikon Pass that commenced this 2018-19 season.” – JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley in an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Mary Kate proposes some strong solutions.

“Solutions? Working with the Teton Village Association we’ve added four morning shuttles between Stilson and the Village, plus a Teton Village employee morning shuttle from the Hampton Inn direct to the Village. We are working with hotels so that our employees who live over the pass can stay in the Village when necessary, ensuring that they can get to work and open the mountain on time. We are encouraging all visitors to use bus transportation between town and the Village. We have also eliminated late-season marketing promotions in an effort to reduce crowds.

We are developing actions to mitigate the crowding and stress points for the long term. Potential measures include eliminating some promotions, raising pricing of Mountain Collective and Ikon and limiting complimentary and discounted tickets. We will also be working with the Teton Village Association, hotels, community partners and START to expand transit. We plan to add parking spaces at Stilson and will invest to house more of our workforce in Jackson. We are exploring additional options that we believe will reduce traffic and will share those initiatives when confirmed. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will continue to closely monitor volumes and industry trends with the objective of improving the experience we offer to our loyal guests.” – JHMR President Mary Kate Buckley in an open letter to the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Miles slash. Jackson Hole February 2019.  photo: Jamie Blair/snowbrains

February was the second deepest month in Jackson Hole history at 193″ of snowfall and skiing and riding conditions have been off the charts.

Towering Jamie. Jackson Hole February 2019. image: snowbrains

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2 thoughts on “Jackson Hole’s President Admits Overcrowding Problem in 2019

  1. Mrs. Disney is a miserable failure as a CEO….Her letter blames locals and employees for skiing more days…

    Maybe she should spend less time planning her wine events and more time dealing with the real issues.

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