Sustainable Vail: Alternative options for driving to the slopes this winter |

Sustainable Vail: Alternative options for driving to the slopes this winter

With the ski season underway, travelers are making their way to the High Country to enjoy the great snow we are experiencing this season. But keeping the snow we all love reliably on the slopes means doing our part to protect our state and our mountain ecosystem from the impacts of climate change.

Transportation-related emissions comprise 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the state and are the second highest source of emissions in Vail at 31% behind commercial energy (buildings, lift operations, etc.). Whether traveling to Vail for the day from the Front Range or flying into Denver International Airport for a week-long visit, there are several ways that visitors can quickly and conveniently navigate Interstate 70 while mitigating their impact on the environment.

We all play a role in lessening our impact on I-70 congestion. Whether you’re a local for a day or a long-time resident, keep these tips in mind for easy ways to get around the valley that allows for skipping highway traffic and the parking structure.

Ride Sharing

There is no easier time to carpool to the mountains. From ride-sharing apps to elevated bus services, Front Range skiers and snowboarders have never had so many options to get to Vail in style. In big cities, apps such as Moovit and Wave Carpool are well-known, however, in Colorado new options recently emerged as Treadshare and Caravan are launching to allow skiers and snowboarders to share the ride from the Front Range to your favorite ski resort. The new carpooling apps allow travelers to upload their upcoming trips into the system or find other travelers who would pay a fee to join them for the ride to and from — or within — the mountains.

Bustang, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s statewide bus service, picks up at several locations in the Front Range and services mountain towns up and down the I-70 corridor including Vail. This winter, the Bustang is adding an extra bus each way. The Bustang typically leaves Denver’s Union Station at 7 a.m. and arrives in Vail at 9:20 a.m. and then returns to Denver at 3:50 p.m. or 7:50 p.m., which allows for maximum time on the slopes.

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Additional transit service will be provided through CDOT’s Pegasus program. Pegasus combined with Bustang’s West Line provides hourly service between Avon and Denver Union Station with intermediate stops in Vail, Frisco and the Federal Center in Lakewood. Bustang riders can relax and enjoy free Wi-Fi, take a nap, or just soak in the view on their two-hour drive to Vail.

Travelers coming from DIA have several ride-share options including Uber Ski, Epic Mountain Express, Peak 1 Express, Blue Sky Limo and Colorado Airport Express. A simple Google search uncovers several options in an array of price ranges that will get travelers to Vail.

Free Transportation in Vail

Travelers don’t need a car when visiting Vail. The town of Vail offers one of the largest free year-round bus services in the country. Visitors can travel throughout Vail (East Vail to West Vail) on the town’s convenient transportation service. And, if visitors want to travel downvalley, Eagle County offers an extensive transportation system from Vail to the rest of the valley via ECO Transit. The convenient service is available for a small fee depending on the bus line and leaves regularly from the Vail Transportation Center in Vail Village.

Drive electric

If opting to drive to Vail, consider driving an electric vehicle. Hertz recently announced its intent to purchase the largest EV rental fleet in North America. And, many car companies are making it easier and easier to choose electric with rebates and special offers. When driving an EV to Vail, the destination offers more than 30 public charging ports and more than 20 hotels offer options for plugging in. Vail offers an array of public charging ports ranging from Level 2 options to four DC fast charging stations in the Lionshead parking structure.

Collectively, visitors and locals can follow these easy tips when deciding the best way to get to the slopes this winter.

Kristen Bertuglia is the environmental sustainability director for the town of Vail. The Discover Vail monthly sustainability column is a project of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, which is responsible for marketing the destination during the non-winter months.

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