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How Best To Handle Traffic, Parking In Busy Mountain Towns

Frisco-Parking It's harder and harder to get a parking spot in resort towns, like Frisco, Colo. (Town of Frisco/Facebook)

In a world of ride-share, buses, shuttles and Uber, plenty of skiers and riders still pack up the car and head the the hills the old-fashioned way.

Three of the busiest traffic areas in the Western mountains are Summit County,Colo., Park City, Utah, and Lake Tahoe,Calif. Here's some SnoCountry tips for getting around.

Beating the traffic for a full day's skiing means, “Get going early.” If first-chair is a priority, you may have to get going as early as dawn's first light. Locate a coffee spot to wait until the lifts open.

In these bustling locales, free parking is rare, if at all. Lots open as early as 6 a.m.

Most resorts have some free parking with shuttle service (Copper is has tons); anything within walking distance usually costs. Pay more and get a valet to park it for you.

At Breckenridge, the nation's busiest mountain, two lots are free with park 'n' ride service to the mountain, with a total of 710 spots. Otherwise, the town runs three pay lots; they charge more the closer you get to the lift.

Limited parking in downtown Park City forces skiers and riders to remote lots. (Town of Park City/Facebook)

Park City is a busy town. They parcel out street parking permits to residents (even short term), then funnel visitors into a half-dozen lots. Two are free; the rest will cost. Park City is the leader in free buses, which range throughout the town.

Parking at nearby Canyons is free in lots tied to free cabriolet ride to the base. Get into the village and expect to shell out at least $20.

Safest way to beat the traffic is a bus or shuttle, like this TART bus in Lake Tahoe region. (TART/Facebook)

At South Lake Tahoe – home to Heavenly – the resort runs three free lots with nearby lift access or shuttle. Town has street parking, and several lots and garages. Smaller resorts around the lake – Homewood, Diamond Peak, Northstar – have free base parking, but they can fill up on busy weekend or holidays. For an alternative, the TART bus system runs all around the lake for $1.75. And shuttles from Truckee or S. Lake Tahoe guarantee you will get on the mountain.

Snowy weather can make the commute to Tahoe mountains a challenge. (Tahoe Now)

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