Will Ski Resort Ridesharing Solve Traffic Challenges for Utah Skiers?

By: Abdifatah Gedi

ShareLift is a carpooling app for skiers and snowboarders in Utah to coordinate shared rides to nearby resorts in order to provide more transportation options, as well as reduce traffic and emissions. Garret Cross the CEO of Share Lift “Those who are driving to resorts can pick up passengers, and after the ride is completed, the passenger pays the driver to compensate for the gas spent getting to the resort. This app will benefit anyone who doesn’t have a reliable mode of transportation to get to ski resorts, as well as drivers who would like to get reimbursed for their gas that they use to get to resorts. Cross said, “We will be reducing a lot of single occupancy trips to resorts, which will reduce air pollution in the Wasatch valley.” This app will help skiers and snowboarders; it will also help create cleaner air for everyone in Utah.

ShareLift started a year and a half ago when traffic to ski resorts was backed up, it was difficult to find a parking spot, and the inversion in Utah was getting worse and worse. ShareLift interviewed a lot of skiers to see what people would use in order to reduce the number of cars driving up the canyons. Cross said, “It was important to not just build a solution that I personally think would work, but instead, build a solution that people would actually be used.” A majority of people he spoke with said that they would like to see a mobile carpool app to coordinate rides for skiers and snowboarders. After he found out what people wanted, he started to search for developers to create the mobile app. Cross “I came across an organization that was starting up a similar concept, and we decided to combine our efforts to launch the app this winter.”

Utah has a large ski industry, with around 200,000 skiers in the state. This app will appeal to skiers as a new option of transportation, and will also impact Utah’s air quality by reducing the number of cars on the road. Cross said, “We are taking the new sharing economy to the ski industry, and making it affordable for users. This app has the possibility to change the way that people travel to ski resorts, starting in Utah and then expanding to other states. The ski resorts will start using this app this coming winter, and a lot of skiers are pretty excited about it.

Skiers Mark, Charlie, and Forest were interested to hear about ShareLift ride sharing These three individuals all have the same passion for skiing, after asking some things they face when they go to skiing, they all said the biggest problem they had was driving up there with traffic and finding a parking spot. They also had similar opinion on the pros and cons of this app to them.

Mark said “Traffic is a huge problem when it comes to driving to the ski resorts jammed and busy in the winter.” I asked Forest if he will consider using this App to get to the ski resorts in the near future. “It’s hard to drive up there when it snows really hard the traffic is crazy, hard to find a parking spot.” “The roads are very hard to drive on. I wouldn’t consider using Share lift because I wouldn’t like to share a ride with a stranger. I would rather go with a group of friends than sharing a ride with a bunch of other skier’s that I don’t know.” The pros for this app for Mark is that he will only consider of using this app if he’s out of town just because he doesn’t know anyone there to go with skiing so he would use ShareLift to get to the ski resorts.

I next interviewed Charlie.  “Traffic is still challenging when it comes to skiing because the roads are slippery,” she said, “there is a lot of people driving to get up there different times, that makes the traffic hard to go through sometimes.” Charlie also thinks It’s difficult for her to drive up to the ski resorts because of the roads, “The roads are narrow and it makes it hard to drive up there,” She would only consider using this app because it will be more convenient and easier for her and her friends to go skiing, because they will be dropped off right in front of the ski resorts. Charlie said, “It also makes easy for me to go up there without paying for gas and for parking it will also be very useful for me to use this app because I will get to the ski resorts faster and easier without facing traffic challenges on the narrow roads.” The pros for her on this app is that it’s less money, more convenient and safer because she’s not driving. She’s also able to get there faster and save money. The cons  for her using   this app is  the waiting time and sharing ride with strangers.

Forest said, “One of the challenges I face when going up to the ski resorts is traffic. Traffic is always hard and the roads are very slippery and people are driving car’s that don’t have enough power to go up there.” Forest said, “ShareLift can have big impact on skiers with good market.” The pros for him on this app is that he can always use ShareLift when he wants to go skiing and doesn’t feel like driving so he doesn’t have to drive on the bad weather. The cons for him is the cost. “I would rather go with friends than paying for ShareLift which can be expensive sometimes.”

Two famous carpooling companies, that are growing really fast is Uber and Lyft. Lyft is a ridesharing company focused on longer carpool-like trips between cities that was founded in 2007. Uber was founded in 2009 as they use for carpool trips throughout the cities just like Lyft. Lyft’s growth has been moving, it still trails Uber by a landslide in every significant comparison category. In 2013, Lyft had 7,000 drivers and 488,000 rides per month. In 2014, Lyft increased those average monthly driver and ride figures to 51,000 and 2.2 million, respectively. At the beginning of 2015, Lyft was doing about 2.5 million rides per month, and it expects to do about 205 million rides in 2016 or about 17 million per month. (Miller,2015). On the other hand, ShareLift is only focused on skiers, to take skiers to the ski resorts from the valley’s. The graph below that shows average riders for Uber and Lyft.