Tips for dodging ski traffic jams, closed lots

Parking lots at Palisades Tahoe. | Palisades Tahoe

Your vacation plans likely don’t include spending hours sitting in long lines of traffic in icy and snowy conditions to get to your favorite ski resort, arriving only to be turned away due to lack of parking. By planning ahead, making a reservation or taking one of the many free transit options, you can avoid traffic and spend that time instead on the slopes.

Heavenly, Northstar and Palisades Tahoe are requiring parking reservations during holidays and peak periods to ease traffic and congestion. Plan your visit ahead of time to secure a reservation or leave the driving to someone else with the many free transit options listed below. Be sure to check every ski area before visiting for parking updates. As well, some ski areas also have a parking map that will report availability of parking in real time.

Diamond Peak & Incline Village

Diamond Peak | Diamond Peak offers a Ski Shuttle from 17 locations throughout Incline Village, Nev., to provide service directly to the ski area. The resort also offers parking shuttles during busy days serving off-site parking lots at Aspen Grove, the Overflow Lot on Lakeshore Boulevard, and the Big Water lot on Ski Way.

On-demand shuttle | TART Connect operates its free, on-demand, door-to-door shuttle in Incline Village from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until midnight during peak times. Download the TART Connect app to book a ride. | tahoetruckeetransit.com

South Shore & Kirkwood

Heavenly Ski Area | Heavenly has implemented a reservation-based paid parking program at the California Base Area on weekends and during peak periods. It remains free to park at the Lodge Monday to Fridays. The Stagecoach and Boulder lots will remain free daily.

Heavenly also offers a shuttle with three routes: to and from the California Lodge and Heavenly Village; a route with access to Stagecoach and Boulder; and from the Stateline Transit Center to and from Boulder and Stagecoach. | skiheavenly.com

Bus service | Visitors to Heavenly and throughout South Lake Tahoe can also use the bus to access the ski area and locations around South Shore. The bus also offers connections to Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville. | tahoetransportation.org

On-demand shuttle | Lake Link offers free, on-demand, door-to-door shuttle service in South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, Nev., from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Download the Lake Link app to book a ride. | ss-tma.org/lake-link

Kirkwood | Kirkwood Mountain Resort has instituted a combination of free and paid parking options on Saturdays and Sundays and during holidays/peak periods. All parking is first-come, first-served.

The Village Chair 9 and Volcano lots will be reserved for carpools only of four or more people on weekends and during holiday/peak periods. The VIP and Village Lot will be reserved for paid parking on weekends and holidays, with carpools able to park for free.

Parking will remain free during non-peak weekdays. The shuttle will continue to operate throughout the base area, as well. | kirkwood.com

Northstar California & Truckee

Northstar California | Northstar has implemented a reservation-based paid parking program at Village View and Lower Village Preferred Paid lots on weekends and during peak periods between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Parking is free at Village View lots Monday to Friday during non-peak times.

The Castle Peak lot will remain free with no reservations required and will be open weekdays only after Village View lot is full. When open, there will be continuous shuttle service from Castle Peak to the Village until 6 p.m. weekdays and until 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Vehicles with four or more passengers can park for free in any lot except the Lower Village lot.

Park & Ride Shuttle | Free Park and Ride shuttles will be offered to Northstar every weekend through April 7. The Park and Ride lot is located at 10266 Truckee Airport Road in Truckee. | tahoetruckeetransit.com

Bus service | Free bus service is offered throughout Truckee with connections available to the North and West shores of Lake Tahoe. | tahoetruckeetransit.com

On-demand shuttle | TART Connect is operating its free, on-demand, door-to-door shuttle in Truckee from 6:30 a.m. to midnight until April 7. Expanded services is offered until 1:30 a.m. until Dec. 31. Download the TART Connect app to book a ride. | tahoetruckeetransit.com

Palisades Tahoe, Alpine & Olympic Valleys

Palisades Tahoe | Parking reservations are required at Palisades Tahoe for both base areas for all vehicles on weekends and holidays before 1 p.m. with most spots available for free. Reservations open on Tuesdays for the upcoming weekends. Paid spots are available to be booked in advance on the date of choice depending on availability.

Mid-week parking will remain free and will not require a reservation. Carpools of three or more people will have access to parking spaces that are closer to the lifts. | parkpalisadestahoe.com

Park & Ride Shuttle | Free Park and Ride shuttles will be offered to Palisades Tahoe every weekend through March 31. Shuttles depart from Tahoe Truckee High School in Truckee and from the Tahoe City Transit Center/64 Acres and run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (schedule times depend on location). | palisadestahoe.com

Mountaineer shuttle | The free, on-demand winter transportation in Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows will operate its 9-passenger, dog-friendly vans equipped with ski/snowboard racks until April 7 daily in Olympic Valley from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Service in Alpine Meadows will be Thursday to Monday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Service between the two valleys will be offered daily from 5 to 11 p.m. There will be extended service during holidays and special events. Passengers may request rides through the Mountaineer app. | mountaineertransit.org

Bus service | Free bus service is offered with connections available to the North and West shores and Truckee. | tahoetruckeetransit.com

North & West Shores

TART Connect, the on-demand free shuttle offering door-to-door service, has expanded its operations offering service from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until midnight during peak periods. Shuttles are dog friendly and have ski racks. Rides may be booked using the TART Connect app or by calling ( 530) 553-0653.

Free bus service is also available throughout the region with connections to Truckee. | tahoetruckeetransit.com