Roping in parking fees a good idea
The best things in life are still free, including parking at the rodeo lot in Snowmass Village.
We were glad to see this week that the town of Snowmass Village backed down from an ill-advised plan to charge skiers next season $5 per day to park in the lot, which sits about two miles from the Fanny Hill base area. Parking at the rodeo lot already involves a significant bus ride to Fanny Hill or the mall, which is not exactly a visitor-friendly experience. Locals are used to it, however, and the shuttles are a fair trade-off, or even a bargain, when the parking is free.
Perhaps tourists, who are already shelling out thousands of dollars on a ski vacation, won’t resent a $5 parking charge. For many locals, however, paying $5 to park in a lot so far from the slopes is a deal-breaker.
Fortunately, the Aspen Skiing Co. recognized this and rejected the town’s plan that included the new charge. The Skico and the town are in the middle of discussions about next winter’s skier-parking plan, but the Skico refused to participate in a program that involved the $5 fee. Clearly the Skico understands the fee would be both a public-relations mistake and a disincentive for people to ski Snowmass.
With each passing year, skiing becomes more expensive and more difficult. The “hassle factor” and the perception of price-gouging at ski areas are already huge barriers to many potential customers, and a $5 parking charge at the rodeo lot would be just one more irritant.
We’re pleased to see that Snowmass Village has given the thumbs-down to this idea for 2008-09, but we worry that the Town Council has asked staff members to bring the idea back next year. Especially during tough economic times, shouldn’t everyone in the upper Roaring Fork Valley be working to reduce hassles, remove unnecessary barriers and make skiing more affordable?
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