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No reservation for parking at Lake Tahoe’s biggest ski resort? ‘Don’t come’

One of the Palisades Tahoe parking lots that will be requiring visitors to register for parking prior to visiting the resort. The Palisades is the largest ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area.
One of the Palisades Tahoe parking lots that will be requiring visitors to register for parking prior to visiting the resort. The Palisades is the largest ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area. | Source: Courtesy the Palisades Tahoe

The largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe advises visitors who plan to park at the resort during the winter-season weekends and holidays to register beforehand or take free public transit.

The Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows have implemented the new parking reservation system for all weekends and holidays from December to the end of March, according to the resort’s website. The change was announced earlier this year.

Palisades spokesperson Patrick Lacey warned potential visitors hoping to thwart the system that the resort will issue fines for those who park in their lots during the specified dates without registering.

“We can’t have that,” he said. “If you don’t have a reservation, don’t come or find a way to get up here without having to drive.”

READ MORE: Driving to Tahoe in Winter Conditions Can Be Daunting. Here’s What You Need To Know

According to Lacey, the resort offers free public transportation through Tahoe Area Regional Transit, which runs free shuttles and buses into the resort area and Olympic Valley.

The remaining dates this winter that visitors need to register for parking include: Dec. 16-17 and 23-31; Jan. 6-7, 13-15, 20-21 and 27-28; Feb. 3-4, 10-11 and 17-25; and March 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 and 30-31, according to the Palisades Tahoe website.

The move, however, has confused potential guests, some of whom posted on Reddit that free reservations for the Palisades sold out shortly after they became available on Tuesday.

“Went to reserve a space for this Saturday after the 12:00 release and are there really no free spaces left at both resorts after one hour and they don’t have any snow?” the poster asked. “Going to be madness this year if true.”

Prior to the system’s implementation, parking at the resort was on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paid and free reservations, according to Lacey, will only be required on the specified dates, with free parking still being offered from Monday through Friday. The price to reserve a space is $30 with a limit of 10 spots per guest, which can be booked throughout the season.

Free parking reservations for the upcoming weekend or holiday period will be made available every Tuesday, with half of the free spaces released at noon and the remaining half released at 7 p.m., according to Lacey.

“The majority of all our parking reservations are going to be free,” he said, adding that snowfall or events can limit the number of spaces available. “This program is only for a few days out of the year.”

Guests can cancel reservations with no penalty fee the morning of, so long as it is before 8 a.m., according to the resort.

READ MORE: 9 Cheap(er) Ski Spots Near the Bay Area

Lacey said the decision stems from increased traffic around Lake Tahoe and Highway 89 during the weekends and holidays.

“Traffic has become a common issue, impacting the overall experience for our guests,” he said. “People come from all over, heading to the same place. But our parking lots and roads can only fit so many cars.”

Potential benefits of the program were cited by Lacey as reductions in traffic and improved flow, a better guest and employee experience, less impact on our community and a reducing the resort’s carbon footprint.

“Our program encourages carpooling, creating a smooth experience for our guests,” Lacey said. “Reserving a parking spot in advance will allow our guests to arrive at their convenience, eliminating the need to get to the resort early.”

Lacey said the registration will reduce the amount of time guests spend trying to get into the resort area.

“Think about it: Would you rather spend two frustrating hours stuck in traffic or take two quick minutes to book a free parking reservation?” he said. “The second option not only saves time but also makes things way smoother for our guests.”

Heavy snow is expected to hit the Palisades Tahoe this Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Joel Umanzor can be reached at