Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Winter Park Resort Ski Train returns as the Winter Park Express

by G. Kunkel

The original Winter Park Ski Train ran for most of 69 years.  It stopped in 2009.  I was fortunate enough to work on it a few times selling lessons for Ski + Ride School on the trip up.

I was gutted the day they said the train was sold.   It was a Denver tradition for many years.

After a false start and insurance squabbles, the Ski Train is reborn in 2017 as the Winter Park Express.  The new train is run in partnership with Amtrak, Centurylink, and Winter Park Resort.   The new 1.5 million dollar heated train platform was funded by a partnership of organizations.

The new train departs from Union Station which was refurbished several years ago as a transportation hub.  A new rail line connects DIA directly to the station allowing airplane passengers to take a rail to rail connection to the ski area.

The Winter Park Express leaves Union Station in Denver at 7 a.m. and arrives at the base of the ski area around 9 a.m.  It can carry up to 500 people per trip.  It runs one trip per day on the weekends from January to March.  The California Zephyr runs the same route everyday but departs later and drops passengers off in nearby Fraser.

Here's a view of the new platform that I took on Thursday 1-6-2017 from the third floor of the Ski School Building.  As one can see, the view is blocked by the safety barrier and the resort got nearly three feet of snow.

A travel guide covered the first trip.  If one is curious about the process and the resort, the video gives a good overview.

There's plenty of room in the baggage car for skibikes.  One might want to bring some padding if you don't want the bike banged up.  One can also rent a skibike at the ski area if one has a Type II skibike license.   West Portal Rentals is located on the ground floor of the black building attached to the blue building where the train stops.

The cost of the train one-way starts at $39 which is less expensive than the local airport shuttle.  Holiday dates are more expensive.

The train runs in bad weather, by-passes Berthoud Pass closures,  misses the hideous Interstate 70 traffic, and provides a scenic way to see the Colorado mountains.

© 2017 G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and A Colorado Skibiker Goes Skibiking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.Google

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