Here’s Where—and What—You’ll Pay to Park at West Coast Resorts This Winter

Skiing's increased popularity has led more resorts to charge for parking. Here's how to navigate the lots at 10 West Coast ski areas.

Photo: Getty Images

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Skiing has never been a low-cost sport, but these days, there’s an added charge (and added worry) for us all to consider: parking. That’s right, the days of parking in a free lot, unloading your gear, and hitting the slopes without any sort of planning or payment is long gone at several resorts across the U.S.

Mt. Hood’s free lots fill quickly on pow days; there will be premium spots on offer this season for those willing to pay for the convenience (Photo: Getty Images)

While some are requiring skiers to pay for and reserve a parking spot in advance, others are asking season pass holders to pay several hundred dollars—on top of the cost of their pass—for a season-long parking pass that doesn’t even guarantee a spot, especially on holidays, weekends, or powder days.

On the Flip: 10 Resorts To Score Free Parking This Winter

But while resorts on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountains have made the news for their parking policies (most notably Stowe and its $450 season parking pass that doesn’t guarantee a spot), it’s been relatively quiet in the Pacific West. Here’s a rundown of West Coast ski areas that have instituted new parking policies or are bringing back paid parking policies for the season, so you can be prepared when you roll up to the resort.

Parking Requirements at 10 West Coast Resorts This Season

Crystal Mountain, Wash.

Crystal Mountain is bringing back the parking changes it instituted last ski season. Namely, that skiing Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays before 1 p.m. has to pre-reserve a parking spot. The cost of parking is included with the purchase of a season pass (including Ikon Passes), but is an added charge for non-pass holders. Last year it was $20 on Fridays and Sundays and $30 on Saturdays and holidays.

Palisades Tahoe, Calif.

There’s over 6,000 free parking spots at the Alpine and Palisades base areas of Palisades Tahoe, but those spots tend to disappear quickly on weekends, holidays, and powder days. The only way to guarantee a spot is to nab one of the resort’s 75 prepaid parking spots at Alpine Lodge, which go for $40 in advance or $50 the day of. The resort also has a select number of full-season “preferred parking passes,” which are already sold out for the 2022-23 season.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Ore.

Unlike most resorts on this list, Mt. Bachelor is rolling back some of their parking policies from the previous season. The mountain is no longer requiring guests to make a reservation to park, so most parking is free and first-come, first-served. That said, those who want to guarantee a spot can reserve a premium parking space close to the lifts. The cost for these premium spots is not yet posted for the 2022-’23 ski season, but you can check here for updates.

Lee Canyon, Nev.

If you have a season pass (or their Ride Local Card), parking is included in the cost of your season pass. But if you’re a day skier on a single-day pass, you’ll have to purchase a $10 parking pass online and in advance.

Big Bear Mountain Resort, Calif.

Parking is free at Big Bear … until it isn’t. Basically every weekend in December, January, February, and March skiers have to pay $25 to park and advance reservations are recommended. (Big Bear and Ikon Pass holders can still park for free at the resort’s remote lots on the weekends, but parking is still first-come, first served.) If you ski Big Bear a lot, you can buy a Premium Parking Pass for a cool $439—but even with the pass, a spot isn’t guaranteed.

Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Timberline Mountain, Cooper Spur, Ore.

In Oregon, many ski area parking lots—including those at the mountains listed above—are maintained by the state, so you’ll need a DMV-issued Sno-Park permit in order to park. The permit is $25 for the year, $9 for three consecutive days, or $4 for a single day. You can buy a permit online here, or at the resort. This paid parking system is in effect from November 1 to April 30.

Sierra at Tahoe, Calif.

There is free parking at Sierra at Tahoe, but if you want to park close to the lifts, they have a Preferred Parking pass for $239 a year or $30 a day. The trick is that like the parking pass at Stowe, the pass doesn’t guarantee skiers a parking spot of any kind. Lots open at 7, so plan to arrive early on weekends and powder days.

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