Can mountain carpools ease the I-70 mess?

<p>(Anna Hanel/CPR News)</p>
<p>A winter storm backs up ski traffic on I-70 between Frisco and Denver.</p>
Photo: I-70 traffic between Frisco and Denver
A winter storm backs up ski traffic on I-70 between Frisco and Denver.

Six ski resorts along the Interstate 70 corridor are offering front-row parking and discounted lift tickets to carpoolers, starting today. It's part of the Colorado Department of Transportation's new program to reduce traffic jams for weekend ski travelers.

The Dinosaur Lot in Morrison will be the central gathering area for the share-riders, with food trucks, raffle drawings and complimentary tire checks, the Summit Daily reported.

The stats are there: According to data from a CDOT release, roughly 30,000 cars pass through both bores of the Eisenhower Tunnel on an average winter weekend, the majority of which carry fewer than three passengers. If each vehicle transported four people instead, nearly 10,000 fewer cars would clog the interstate.

Then there’s the cash factor. Using a recent AAA travel study, Way to Go marketing director Colleen Miller says the average ski trip from Denver to Silverthorne costs a driver more than $75, and that figure only incudes gas and regular maintenance — not outside charges like parking and lift tickets.

It will also become a transit station for skiers traveling with Colorado Mountain Express and Front Range Ski Bus, both of which will offer one-day-only discount rates and lift tickets on Saturday.