Demand for free parking rises in Vail |

Demand for free parking rises in Vail

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” The sight of cars lining the Frontage Road across from the West Vail Safeway in Vail, Colorado is becoming increasingly common as skiers take advantage of the road’s free parking.

The spots across from Safeway, as well as spots near the old West Vail Wendy’s, have been used more this season since the town raised its parking garage rates, said Vail’s Public Works Director Greg Hall.

Many are opting to park and take the bus into the villages instead of paying $25 to park in the garages for a day.

“Part of it is that more and more people know about it,” Hall said of the free skier parking. “But the rates have pushed some people over there for sure.”

Right now in “peak times,” the town is allowing skiers to park in the spots all week. After Jan. 4, those spots will only be available Friday through Sunday.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The rush for free spots isn’t the only thing filling up the Frontage Road. On Monday, cars lined the South Frontage Road for the third time this season as the parking garages filled up.

Since Christmas, Vail’s parking garages have filled up two days, but cars didn’t have to spill onto the Frontage Road until Monday. The Christmas-to-New Year’s week is usually the busiest, but how full the garages get also depends on the snow, Hall said.

“This coming weekend could be busy,” he said.

The problem is one that the town is listing as one of its top priorities, said Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler.

The town is considering building underground parking under Ford Park and the nearby soccer fields, he said.

“There are a lot of complicated aspects that need to be worked out,” Zemler said. “We need to see if it’s feasible, and there will be opportunities for public input before any decisions are made.”

If parking is built at the sites, all of the recreation facilities currently there will be kept, he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

Support Local Journalism