Ski train from Union Station to Winter Park chugs back into service next month

Tickets for the Amtrak Winter Park Express “ski train” from Denver’s Union Station to the Winter Park base area, which begins service Jan. 13, are now on sale.

The Winter Park Express will operate Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 26. Adult tickets start at $34 one way. Tickets for children ages 2-12 start at $17 one-way.

The train to Winter Park has a venerable history. The original Ski Train, which was inaugurated by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad when the ski area opened in 1940, operated until 2009. From 1988-2009 it was owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz. Amtrak resurrected it as the Winter Park Express in 2017.

Taking the train is considerably more expensive than driving, but it’s a lot more scenic and fun. The route takes passengers northwest through Denver and Arvada, where it climbs north through foothills outcrops before turning west near Eldorado Canyon.

It offers gorgeous scenery as it chugs through Front Range mountain landscapes before entering the six-mile Moffat Tunnel beneath the Continental Divide. It arrives at Winter Park immediately after emerging from the tunnel.

The Winter Park Express isn’t the only rail service to Winter Park, though. Skiers and snowboarders can catch Amtrak’s daily California Zephyr — a Chicago to San Francisco route — at Union Station and get off at a stop in Fraser, eight miles from Winter Park. From there they can take a shuttle to the ski area. The California Zephyr also stops in Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.

Snowstang bus service from Union Station and Lakewood to Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain and Steamboat Springs, will begin operation on Dec. 17. Snowstang is operated by CDOT.

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