Will driverless cars help remote resorts?

AlpineZone

Page 1 of 17 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 170
  1. #1

    Will driverless cars help remote resorts?

    Reading the "Ski the East...or not?" thread with the comments about driving to eastern resorts vs. flying to western ones got me thinking about driverless vehicles' potential impact on the east. The idea of driverless vehicles brings to my mind images of Big Brother so I'm leery of them. That said, I have experienced heavy eyelids on long solo drives after an energetic day of skiing- with no one else to take the wheel. There's no doubt they'll be here in not too distant future- maybe renting a driverless for a long ski trip isn't such a bad idea after all. Perhaps I could travel overnight to Sugarloaf. Always wanted to go there. Hmm.....

    Thoughts?

    Last edited by legalskier; Feb 5, 2019 at 6:32 PM.
    If it's snowin' I'm goin'

  2. #2
    They would be a godsend for me. I'd love to be able to skip the motel room and just sleep in the car during the long drive up. Places that are currently out of my day range would suddenly become feasible to day trip.

    But I'm not sure how well the first gen cars will be able to handle snowy weather. I like to storm chase and a hairy drive in usually means good skiing. They usually test the driverless cars in perfect weather in places like sunny California. How will they do on some snow covered road with low visibility on some back road in Maine? I would have a hard time trusting them and I'd probably want a five point seatbelt and rollbar before I'd be able to nod off to sleep.

    Apres Ski would be enhanced too. I'd could have another round before hitting the road if I didn't have to worry about driving myself home.

  3. #3
    kingslug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    looooooong island ny
    Posts
    4,322
    By the time it happens I think I'll be long past skiing. But they would be the best. After skiing 2 days at Stowe the 5 hour drive sux. Hell the 5 hour drive up there after working all day Friday sux.
    I do love the ads for BLADE..just fly up to Stowe..only 750.00 each way..piece of cake. Might as well get a pilots licence and buy a small plane..which my friend..did.
    Lets go!
    I'll drive.

  4. #4
    I think it is going to be a long while before driverless cars will be able to go that far from population centers or drive in sketchy conditions, IMO. However, should it happen successfully I think it might. I could easily leave work early on a Friday and go up to someplace like Jay or Sugarloaf if I can work a bit from the car. Right now that isn't really possible.

    By the time this is a thing though, so much will probably be different about the ski industry.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by speden View Post
    They would be a godsend for me. I'd love to be able to skip the motel room and just sleep in the car during the long drive up. Places that are currently out of my day range would suddenly become feasible to day trip.

    But I'm not sure how well the first gen cars will be able to handle snowy weather. I like to storm chase and a hairy drive in usually means good skiing. They usually test the driverless cars in perfect weather in places like sunny California. How will they do on some snow covered road with low visibility on some back road in Maine? I would have a hard time trusting them and I'd probably want a five point seatbelt and rollbar before I'd be able to nod off to sleep.

    Apres Ski would be enhanced too. I'd could have another round before hitting the road if I didn't have to worry about driving myself home.
    Or just a high speed train, never understood why there wasn’t a metro north or Amtrak line that serviced the resorts, seems like a no brained to me.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ol Dirty Noodle View Post
    Or just a high speed train, never understood why there wasn’t a metro north or Amtrak line that serviced the resorts, seems like a no brained to me.
    I've wanted this for a LONG time. The Winter Park line is profitable, so I'd love to see someone try it. Freight lines have zero issues with the WP train and its immensely popular.

    The Downeaster into Maine is not profitable (I think) along with most Amtrak routes so that is a clear worry.

    Active train tracks literally run past the Bear Peak Lodge (though not approved for passenger use obviously). Sunday River ran a ski train for 3 years (all at tremendous financial losses) in the 90s so its feasible up there too.

    Most obvious Boston train would be to Loon though, which I sadly would be less excited about.

    A train up 93 stopping at a bunch of resorts or even just service to North Conway would be amazing though.

  7. #7
    While it's a long ways away, this is an interesting topic worth discussing.

    As many have already alluded to, this will make longer drive times much more tolerable for a lot of people. As a result, it's very likely that a lot more people would choose to ski in the winters. Resorts would get a lot more crowded, with proportionally greater crowds in places that are hard for many to access such as Sugarloaf, Jay Peak, Stowe, Burke, and more. Anecdotally, drive times are a big reason why I might choose to stay at home when conditions are subpar. If I can sleep or watch a movie while my car drives me, why not take the chance and hit up the slopes? If conditions aren't great, I can watch a movie on the ride home. I also carefully consider which weekends I want to stay over at faraway places like Sugarloaf or Jay Peak. With a driverless car, I would be much more inclined to go further.

    With population growth already huge in places like Denver/Boulder, Salt Lake, Seattle, Portland, Bozeman, and more, driverless cars will make destinations, especially in the West, particularly crowded. Hate I-70 traffic? Sit back and watch a movie, and it's almost like there aren't a bunch of other cars right around you. Hate the slow crawl up into Little Cottonwood Canyon on a powder day? I bet you would hate it a lot less if you could sleep or watch TV during it.

    Environmentally, driverless cars will certainly increase the demand for cars, leading to more emissions. This affects skiing too, but only in the long run. Perhaps electric car technology and the corresponding clean energy that makes it "green" to drive an electric car will catch up and become more widespread? It's hard to tell.

    If I was the only person with the driverless car, it would undoubtedly make my life easier and enable me to ski more, and ski further away places. But when everyone has a driverless car, it means we're all driving to the mountain. Will us skiers be better off, or worse off? It's too early to say.

    One thing to add: it's extremely difficult to create new ski resorts, especially out West. Environmental review and regulations are the biggest obstacle, but raising capital isn't far behind. More demand will cause resorts to get overcrowded, the backcountry to keep getting more crowded. Will new resorts be created, or old resorts revived, to meet the new demand?

  8. #8
    I would absolutely love a driverless car. It's a 5.5 hour drive from my house to Sugarbush. On a Friday, I can usually leave around 1pm-ish so it's not such a bad drive. Stop in Saratoga for a coffee and I'm good to go. Ski hard Saturday. Usually the Sunday plan is ski thru lunch and to be putting the skis in the car around 2pm-ish for the drive home. I'd love to chill out on that ride home...read a book, take a nap, etc. FWIW, I wouldn't even mind the first two hours of driving and let the auto pilot take over when I hit the highway.

    I didn't ski over MLK weekend because I had gone up the weekend before and I didn't feel like making the drive again (in bad weather). If someone else was driving it would have been a different story.

  9. #9
    FWIW, although the idea of a train to the NE resorts sounds good, I highly doubt that it would be economically viable. Amtrak is losing money hand over fist already in some of the most populated places in the country. I can't imagine it would make money going to the more remote places in the country.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mikec142 View Post
    FWIW, although the idea of a train to the NE resorts sounds good, I highly doubt that it would be economically viable. Amtrak is losing money hand over fist already in some of the most populated places in the country. I can't imagine it would make money going to the more remote places in the country.
    I can see a Boston - Laconia line coming into play sometime in the future. Year round demand. As much as I want a ski train, I'm not going to Gunstock on one though sadly.

    Laconia isn't all that remote though. Something like the MRV is a different story on literally every front.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:38 PM.