Amtrak takes on the legacy of a mountain classic.
Winter Park Resort is upping its standing in the North American ski world this season, and not by expanding its acreage or its snowmaking capacity. Front Range visitors can now catch the public A-Train between DIA and Union Station, hop on the newly resurrected Ski Train, now called the Winter Park Express, and be shredding stress-free powder before the rest of us even hit Berthoud Pass—all without spending a single minute in traffic.
The rail service is the result of a three-way partnership with Amtrak, Winter Park Resort and Union Pacific, after a successful two-day service experiment last year in celebration of Winter Park’s 75th anniversary completely sold out in a matter of hours. Now, more than 500 people a day can experience the two-hour clickity-clack on the historic route through Moffat Tunnel, departing Denver’s Union Station at 7 a.m. (arriving at 9 a.m.), and departing Winter Park at 4:30 p.m. (arriving back in Denver at 6:40 p.m.), from January 7 through March 26, 2017. Trips will run on weekends only, with additional round trips on Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day. Adult tickets are as low as $39 each way, available through the Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress website. When tickets first went on sale on August 30, 3,300 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours. Of course, you still have to purchase a lift ticket, which can be done on the train.
Is it really hassle-free? Trains can be delayed due to train traffic and track conditions, but you’re kicked back with a travel mug and mountain views few get to share. Not to mention access: Winter Park Resort built a new, $3.5 million, ADA-accessible heated platform for passengers right at the base area—about 20 paces from the Gemini Lift. While the rest of the world is overheating on I-70, your powder stash is just steps away.
—Aaron H. Bible