The Winter Park Ski Train
While the Winter Park Ski Train is not currently operating (at least not when this article was posted,) it has transported many happy skiers and snowboarders. If you ever wanted to know more about the historic Ski Train, this article is a must-read!
Starting in 1940, the Ski Train carried skiers from Union Station in Denver to the base of Winter Park Resort. The Ski Train gained 4,000 feet in elevation over the course of its 2 hour 15 minute trek. This gave passengers the opportunity to converse, sight-see and relax while avoiding the hazards and weekend traffic of I-70. The Ski Train also made one stop at Rocky Flats to pick up/drop off more passengers.
The Ski Train was capable of carrying 750 people in 14 cars: 8 Coach cars, 1 Retreat class car, 3 Club Class cars and 2 Cafe Lounge cars, with 3 locomotives. En route, the Ski Train went through 30 tunnels including the Moffat Tunnel, which is over 6 miles long and the highest railroad tunnel in the U.S.!
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Ski Train often carried members of the Eskimo Ski Club on its 56 mile voyage. The Eskimo Club is a historic program for kids ages 9-17 who are interested in learning how to ski and ride at Winter Park Resort. Click here for more info.
Sadly, the Ski Train ceased operation in 2009, after over 20 years of economic loss and amid the recession. There was a brief revival of the ski train for 2 days in March, 2015, as part of Winter Park Resort’s 75th anniversary celebration. These 450+ capacity trains sold out in a matter of hours, bringing about renewed interest in the future of the Ski Train!
Over the past few months, Winter Park Resort, Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railroad have been meeting about the future of the ski train, and word is services MIGHT resume sometime in 2016. Here’s to hoping!