SilverStar's parking policy unpopular move with season pass holders | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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SilverStar's parking policy unpopular move with season pass holders

Silver Star Mountain Resort
Image Credit: Silver Star Mountain Resort
December 01, 2020 - 7:00 AM

A new parking policy at SilverStar Mountain Resort has riled many season pass holders who say the new measures effectively put limits on their unlimited passes.

SilverStar Mountain Resort is now requiring skiers and snowboarders to register for parking in advance but has a limited number of spaces. The change means that even those who have paid for an unlimited season pass may not be able to get a space to park – making the logistics of spending a day on the slopes far more complicated.

Vernon resident Roger Green said his kids spend four days a week on the mountain and he and his wife both purchased unlimited season passes.

Already the parking reservations for the second Saturday of the season are sold out and Green didn't manage to get a space.

"Even though we have unlimited passes we can't use them," Green said. "I paid for an unlimited pass, I paid for the privilege to be up there and to ski."

If you want to park before 11 a.m. reservations are needed and can be made up to seven days in advance. On top of this, SilverStar has given each season pass holder the opportunity to reserve parking in advance for five days of their choice throughout the season – provided they’re not fully booked.

Green said he's used his five advanced bookings days for the Christmas holidays. He questions how the new system will work for pass holders like him who spend every weekend on the mountain and what will happen on "powder days" when people flock to the mountain for the fresh snow.

"They really didn't think it through," he said.

Green said his daughter skis competitively and is on the mountain from Thursday to Sunday. He skis with her Saturday and Sunday but said if he fails to get a parking reservation over the weekend he'll have to drop her off and not ski himself.

The conundrum makes his $899 unlimited pass seem a lot less unlimited.

And while SilverStar is limiting the number of parking spaces, it isn't restricting the amount of season pass holders who can be on the mountain at a time.

"If we're allowed to ski but we're not allowed to park, where is the logic in that?" Green said. "It's absolutely stupid."

Vernon resident Jordy Schmirler tells a similar story.

"I was really super disappointed," Schmirler said. "It doesn't make any sense."

Schmirler said if he can't get a parking spot he'll have to get a ride for him and his four-year-old son.

"Now you've got people making twice as many trips up the hill just to drop people off because they couldn't get a parking spot," Schmirler said.

Their sentiments were echoed by multiple people who posted on the SilverStar's Facebook page to complain about the new parking policy.

Along with the new policy, one of the parking lots has also been closed for the season.

Restricted parking is the second unpopular move SilverStar has made in the run-up to the season. In September, it unexpectedly limited the number of season passes frustrating many long-time locals who missed out on buying an unlimited pass.

SilverStar Mountain Resort was bought by U.S. company POWDR in December 2019. The company owns 10 other resorts in the U.S and some SilverStar regulars accuse the new owners of turning their back on locals who have supported the mountain for decades. 

Schmirler said he was one of the ones who missed out on an unlimited pass and the resort's parking policy is now another "insensitive" move alienating locals.

"It's really scarred my opinion of SilverStar mountain in general," he said.

SilverStar Mountain Resort spokesperson Chantelle Deacon defended the company's parking policy saying it was one measure they were using this year because of the pandemic.

"The parking reservation system is one of the tools we're using this year to moderate how many people are on the mountain on any given day," Deacon said. "Unfortunately the season isn't like any season in the past, and our goal is to have as many people as we can… safely on the mountain."

Deacon said the unlimited pass could still be used anytime and if a pass holder failed to get a parking spot they could still be dropped off and use the mountain.

Although that seems to diminish the reason the parking policy was put in place, Deacon said the limited parking was only one of several "tools" the mountain had introduced, and it wouldn’t be 100 per cent effective.

"There are so many other things we have to do to make sure the mountain doesn't run at overcapacity," she added.

While it's too early to see how the new policy will play out, the resort opens Dec. 4, Deacon said it is possible the company will change the way it's doing things over the next few weeks depending on guidance and direction from the government and public health officers.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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