By Jamie Leary
DENVER (CBS4) – Carving turns in fresh powder is an unforgettable experience but the traffic jam getting there? It’s an experience many would rather forget. There is, however, a solution.
“We’re really excited to have the Winter Park Express taking its inaugural journey today!” said Chris Linsmayer, Public Affairs Manager for Colorado Ski Country USA, an organization which represents 22 ski resorts across the state, including Winter Park.
As odd as it was to see skiers and boarders all geared up at Union Station Saturday morning, the sight will be the new normal for the coming weekends and riders are thrilled to be back on the fast track after a seven-year lull.
“It’s our first train up in many, many years and a chance to enjoy the train, not have to fight the traffic, go up and have a great day of skiing,” said Mark McMillam, who was aboard the Winter Park Express with his family Saturday morning.
The Winter Park Express is the successor to the Ski Train, which ran the same route from 1940 to 2009. It was discontinued after the costs became too much to handle.
Reviving the route happened thanks to an initiative brought forward train employees in the Denver area.
Combined with RTD’s A Line, the Winter Park Express sets the bar high for stress-free ski trips.
“Colorado is now the only state in the country where you can fly in and with the RTD A Line you can actually not only not rent a car, but not ever set foot in a car,” said Linsmayer.
While the cost can add up for a large family, McMillam offered one way of viewing it.
“It seems like a good value and at the end of the day not being stuck on the road for hours is priceless by itself,” he said.
One-way tickets can run anywhere from $39 to $59 for adults with kids, ages two to 12, riding for half-price with a ticketed adult.
“This is expected to take about 500 cars off I-70 every weekend, which is a big deal,” said Linsmayer.
The train runs from Jan. 7 to March 26, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents Day.
The Winter Park Express will leave each weekend day at 7 a.m. Passengers will be dropped off at the resort by 9 a.m., then board the same train for their return trip at 4:30 p.m. They’ll be back at Union Station by 6:40 p.m.