Dating back to 1940, the Winter Park Express is classic Colorado ski experience and provides weekend service between Denver’s recently renovated 1914 Beaux-Arts Union Station and Winter Park. Not only is this a great way to reduce the need to rent a car and avoid winter driving conditions, but it’s a memorable experience. Winding through the Rocky Mountains and through the Centennial state’s pioneering past is a truly unforgettable way to travel.
History of the Winter Park Ski Train
From 1940 to 1988, the skier service was operated by the Rio Grande Western Railroad after which Ansco Investment Company took over. For nearly two decades the company ran operations, but shut down the service in 2009 for improvements. Unfortunately, the service was not immediately re-instated, but luckily in 2015, Amtrak ran a one-day-only “Winter Park Express” as part of the ski train’s 75th anniversary. It was a smash hit and service sold out. In 2017, regular weekend service January through March kicked off and has continued since.
Amtrak Winter Park Express
The double-decker Amtrak Superliner departs Union Station at 7 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday heading northwest, passing by the stunning Flatirons near Boulder before ascending into the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The locomotive then travels through 31 tunnels, many of which were initially created to support the area’s mining past. Moffat Tunnel is the longest at 6.2 miles, which cuts through the Continental Divide. In total, the ride takes about 2 hours and when you step off the train, you’re about 100 feet from the nearest ski lift.
A new lounge car, added in 2019, and the “sightseer” level, plus a variety of snacks, soft beverages and beer and wine, make the ride a relaxing and enjoyable experience and a no-brainer for those traveling weekend to weekend or planning a quick weekend escape.
Winter Park Ski Train Route Map