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Parking At The Mountain Getting More Expensive In West

Mammoth-Parking Parking lots are more crowded -- and costly -- at most resorts, like Mammoth in California. (Mammoth Mountain)

This season, Solitude Mountain decided that all who drive up to the Utah resort will pay for parking -- prompting an industry-wide look at overcrowded lots, traffic jams and public transport options on the way to the hill.

Ideas for how to solve congestion in and around resorts are plentiful, but difficult to implement in the short-term. The most immediate is paid parking, so SnoCountry took a look around to see what's in place now -- with an eye for what might be in the future.

Solitude Resort unlocked Pandora's Box by charging $20 for vehicles with one or two inside, $10 for three, and $5 for four or more. A reinvigorated bus service up Big Cottonwood Canyon costs $4.50 one way -- free to season ticket holders.

Neighbor Brighton, curious to see how Solitude's policy affects them, will not charge but wave carpoolers (3 or more) into the closest lot.

Otherwise, parking charges vary throughout the West -- but they are more prevalent. Typically, the closer you want to park at a large resort, the more you pay. Check websites for details.

Jackson Hole has led the way for years. Its free parking lot is seven miles away, with regular shuttles to the mountain. Get any closer, and you'll have to pony up $10-$20 depending on proximity to the hill.

At Northstar-at-Tahoe, management announced it would charge $10 weekdays, and $20 weekends and holidays for parking in its second-closest lot, Valley View. Already, to park even closer, it costs $20 weekdays and $40 weekends and holidays. There's still free parking farther away, and free shuttle service.

On the south side of Lake Tahoe, casinos used to allow free parking for skiers and riders at Heavenly. Not any more. For several years, Harrah's & Harvey's casino takes $25 for self-parking in its lots.

At Mammoth, each of its three base areas has free parking -- much of it along the roads. Only one free shuttle runs, in the Main Lodge area. For $30, skiers and riders can get closer in preferred spaces.

Eldora Mountain -- the closest skiing and riding to the Denver-Boulder area -- has been faced with a large increase in visitors in recent years. Mountain managers tried to charge $20 but the outcry made them pull back and implement carpool-preference. Recently they had to turn folks away because of full lots.

Also in Colorado, Keystone has kept a large lot near the main lifts free, with a close-in preference for vehicles with kids 12 and under, or four or more passengers. Otherwise, it's $10-$30 at other lots.

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