Winter Park Ski Train
Posted: December 29, 2017THE WINTER PARK SKI TRAIN
Known as the Winter Park Express, Amtrak reintroduced its route between Denver's Union Station and Winter Park Resort in 2017 for skiers and boarders looking for a relaxed ride to the slopes. The Ski Train has history of over 70 years of regular, scheduled trips to the Winter Park Ski Resort. With recent completion of the light rail A-line train connecting Denver’s International Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver, Winter Park is now the only major US ski resort where you can step off a plane, onto a train, and ride directly to the slopes. Or, if you choose to overnight in the city of Denver, you can walk over to the station in the morning, get on a train, and the train lets you off at the ski lift exactly 2 hours later. And the ski lifts are literally 200’ away. Seriously. From the steps of the train….
Plan a ski day, weekend, or week and take the Amtrak Winter Park Express from Denver Union Station to the base of Winter Park Resort from January 5 - March 25, 2018. The Winter Park Express runs Saturdays and Sundays only (plus every first Friday of the season, January 5, February 2 and March 2).
With one-way tickets and service on Saturday and Sunday you can make it a day trip, a weekend-long trip or an extended vacation. Customize your length of stay at Winter Park Resort and get as much skiing/riding in as you'd like. But buy your tickets early.
Instead of enduring hours of delays, traffic snarls, and back-ups on I-70, you can now relax, enjoy the mountain scenery, and appreciate the quiet ride of the Express ski train. The car sways lazily side to side as the sun-glinted concrete of downtown Denver recedes into the distance. The gentle back-and-forth, combined with the white-noise din of the wheels along the tracks, lulls you to sleep. No shuttles, no rental car hassles, no driving on icy roads. Quietly content, knowing you’ll get to the slopes on-time…….
Here’s the normal schedule:
Depart Union station at 7:00 am
Arrive to Winter Park at 9:00 am
Depart Winter Park at 4:30 pm
Arrive to Union station at 6:40 pm
And here’s a link to Amtrak’s Winter Park Express Ski Train web-site: https://www.amtrak.com/winter-park-express. Finally, let us know you’ll be traveling by train and we’ll be glad to discuss seamless transport options from the Resort train station to your Access Winter Park lodging selection
Several related occurrences were responsible for establishment of the Winter Park Ski Train. Perhaps the earliest and most important event was construction of the Moffat railroad and water tunnel.
The tunnel was named for David Moffat, one of Colorado's great historic figures. This engineering marvel was constructed to connect Colorado’s Front Range to the west slope, and to Salt Lake City. Its 6.2 mile length under the Continental Divide bypassed 27 miles of difficult railroad (called “The Moffat Road” – Figure 1), some above timberline over Corona Pass, also called Rollins Pass. During the summer one can still drive the rough road to the top of Rollins Pass, or snowmobile up there in the winter. There are remnants of an old, abandoned train station, workers quarters, and a small hotel/restaurant at the Pass where folks used to stop-over to enjoy the summer-time views.
The tunnel took 48 months to bore - average daily progress being 21 feet. It is the highest railroad tunnel in the US, the 3rd-longest railroad tunnel in the country, and the 6th longest tunnel in the world. During construction, 750,000 cubic yards of rock were removed using 2.5 million pounds of dynamite to shake it loose. 700 miles of blasting holds were drilled, requiring 800,000 pounds of drill steel and 1,500 drills a day to be sharpened. Eleven million board feet of timber were used to support the shifting earth (the tunnel is largely concrete-lined today). Most impressively (and not very widely known) the tunnel is over ½ mile deep where it crosses the Divide. Sadly, during the five-year project, 28 people died, six in a single cave-in on July 30, 1926. The tunnel was completed in 1927 and is a vital commercial/transportation corridor to this day, including weekend passages of Amtrak’s unique, and exceptional Winter Park Express Ski Train.
From 1940 - 2009, the ski train provided week-end service from Union Station in downtown Denver to Winter Park Resort, and was originally operated by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The operation was sold in 1988 to Ansco Investment Company, which made various needed improvements and ran the “New Ski Train” for two decades before shutting the operation in 2009. An attempt that same year by Iowa Pacific Holdings to purchase and run the Ski Train fell through. Finally, in 2015, the train was reconstituted with help of Amtrak, Winter Park Resort, and city of Denver personnel. And the rest, as they say, is history.