The 5 Ski Resorts with the Worst Traffic

The 5 Ski Resorts with the Worst Traffic

PC: Milehightraveler, IStock Photos

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

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 put a damper on 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. Based on the research conducted by many doctors in the area, it has been proven that a reduction in traffic would significantly increase air quality levels. Poor air quality can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart diseases, lung cancer, and more. Humans simply cannot live in these conditions and stay healthy. 

While traffic at any resort during peak season will be rough, some resorts seem to constantly face a massive traffic issue. Keep reading to see 5 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 it was purchased by Vail Resorts, the price slash to the Epic pass for the 2021-22 season drew bigger crowds than ever before. 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. 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. Park City locals are becoming concerned for the state of their city and are seeking solutions to the traffic crisis. 
    • 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 add 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 major accidents if traffic becomes congested. Last week, the worst instance was when a massive boulder fell onto US-50 and led to both lanes closing. Traffic in these scary conditions becomes twice as dangerous. 
    • Click here to see live traffic updates in South Lake Tahoe.
  5. Breckenridge, CO

    Photo of a particularly bad 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.

Unfortunately, there really is no way to avoid the traffic. If you want to ski the biggest and best resorts, you’re going to have to suck it up and spend some quality time with your car. 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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