UPDATE, March 3: A second train service was added this morning for Sunday March 15th, 2015, but sold out even faster than the first train. Stay tuned for updates at Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress or by calling Winter Park at 888-923-7275.
UPDATE 2, March 4: Another option is the Higher Ground Ski Club bus departing from Boulder for Breckenridge and Copper mountains. Busses are running all of March. Details here: hgskiclub.com
Know of any other group transportation options to the mountains? List them in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
Original February 27 story:
It may not come as much of a surprise to the many of us who are snow hounds living on the Front Range and have whiled away many hours creeping along I-70, even if we’re only trying to get to the Empire exit to make our way over to Grand County, that when there was an option to take a train from Denver to Winter Park to hit the slopes, it filled fast. In fact, the ski train filled in less than 10 hours from the time the seats were available at 10am last Wednesday the 25th. A waitlist soon formed and Amtrak was able to add on an extra car, bumping the train up to 7-cars bringing the total capacity to 450 lucky riders. The train will depart Denver and go through the mountains at the popular East Portal of Moffatt Tunnel where weekend backcountry skiers will be heading up to ski Arapaho and Forest lakes.
“With permission from Union Pacific, we’ve plowed up and flattened out a platform of snow right by the tracks for riders to disembark from the train just steps away from the Gemini lift.” Says Steve Hurlbert, the Director of Public Relations and Communications at Winter Park Resort. “That’s how they did it between 1940 and 2009 when the train ran previously. The whole existence of Winter Park is predicated on the proximity to the train track.”
Amtrak officials are taking note and hopefully this means there may be a regular ski train service between Denver’s Union Station and the ski area. Sadly, chances are slim for this sort of service to Summit and Eagle counties. See our story published earlier this season on the matter here: The Road to Hell.
The Winter Park Express Ski Excursion Train is scheduled to depart Union Station at 7am on March 14 (Pi day in the US for those of you keeping track 3.14.15 – international Pi day won’t be until 31.4.15 April 31st) and plans to arrive at 9am. The train coincides this year with Winter Park’s 75th Anniversary, Colorado’s longest continually-operated ski area. Inbound passengers can then catch the 4:15pm train back to Denver, otherwise they’re on their own getting back.
Are you one of the lucky 450 people to get tickets for the train? Do you want to see this service on a regular basis next season? Add your comments below.