There are some exceedingly busy days each winter (about eight of them) when parking can be a dirty word up here at Stevens Pass. We know that sitting in a long line of cars hoping for a parking spot isn’t *exactly* how you were planning on spending your morning. And trust us, we’d much rather see you out on the slopes instead of waiting for your shuttle ride in the parking lot.

Two Saturdays ago we had our busiest day ever since we implemented our RFID system in the 2008-09 season. With the perfect storm of almost a foot of new snow, clear sunny skies, the end of the holiday break and other areas not yet being open for the season, we saw record levels of skiers and riders flock to the pass to get their turns in. This Sunday we had another big day with a lot of new snow. A lot of you probably experienced some delays while parking these days. It is inspiring to see so many people coming up to enjoy the snow that we’re lucky enough to have, but we also know that a crowded hill makes for some challenges.

Here’s the good news – this parking kerfuffle only happens on average about eight times a season, and we’re constantly working on improvements to make your experience here at Stevens better.  “Parking on these busy days has been a long-term problem, and we certainly acknowledge that,” said Bill Bourton, General Manager of Stevens Pass Mountain Resort. “We are working hard to improve the parking situation.”

With the current parking lots we have, we use extra snow that we plow from the lots to expand these parking areas, but with the lower than normal snowfall we’ve received so far, we haven’t been able to push out the lots quite yet. But this still won’t completely fix the problem, which is why we’re taking a multi-pronged approach to the issue.

For the long term, we’re working to identify sites where we can add parking areas. Engineers and surveyors are currently working with us as we go through the approval process with the US Forest Service so that we can begin construction on a new parking lot. But this process takes time, so in the meantime, this upcoming summer, we’ll be re-grading some spots to maximize the parking areas we already have.

While we’re working on these longer-term solutions, here are some suggestions to make your next visit on those busy weekend and holiday days a more enjoyable one.

  • Before you leave the house, ALWAYS check our website to see if we are parking guests off-site. We post an alert on our website as soon as we know that parking is limited.
  • If our summit lots are full, we’ll be parking guests at our satellite lots, which are located at Yodelin (about one mile east of the Pass) and the Nordic Center (about five miles east of the Pass). We run shuttles to bring guests from these lots to the summit, but sometimes there are waits of up to 30 minutes for these shuttles as they make their rounds.
  • If you’re heading up to Stevens on a holiday weekend (especially if we’ve received a significant amount of new snow) and plan to arrive after 10am, we may be dealing with limited parking. Arriving earlier may make for a very early wake-up, but that’s what coffee is for!
  • Carpool! The more people who carpool, the fewer cars will be driven and the more parking spots will be available for others.
  • Use transportation options! We work with a variety of shuttle services around the Pacific Northwest to offer rides up to the Pass, and many of them also include discounted lift tickets. Some great options are included below, but you can also visit our transportation page to see plenty more.
    • The Mountain View Shuttle operates out of the Mountain View Chevron station in Sultan. A round-trip shuttle ride and a lift ticket will only cost you $67 (which is the same price as a lift ticket alone at a ticket window), and you can reserve your seat online in advance!
    • The Stevens Pass Shuttle runs daily shuttles from both Seattle and Wenatchee, and also has Friday night shuttles. You can reserve your seat online in advance, and packages are available that include a discounted lift ticket so you can skip the ticket lines. They even offer custom shuttle rentals that include a driver and gas if you have a large group heading to the Pass.
  • Here’s one more very important note – it is illegal to park on the side of US Highway 2. Not only is parking on the highway dangerous for you, our guest, but it also makes it difficult and dangerous for the DOT to plow the roads. Washington State Patrol has said that they’ll issue tickets and tow vehicles parked on the side of the highway. If we are so busy that there aren’t any spots available in our summit and satellite lots, we suggest visiting one of the many fantastic diners along Highway 2 for lunch and then heading back to Stevens for some afternoon or night skiing.

We want to make sure you’re spending more time on the slopes than you are in the parking lots, so hopefully some of these tips will help. Now let’s all get back to doing those snow dances!

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