Tickets For This Season’s Winter Park Ski Train Are Selling Like Hotcakes

November 12, 2019
Passengers unload from the Winter Park Express on Jan. 7, 2017, at Winter Park. Passengers unload from the Winter Park Express on Jan. 7, 2017, at Winter Park. Andrew Kenney/CPR News
Passengers unload from the Winter Park Express on Jan. 7, 2017, at Winter Park.

Bookings for the Winter Park Express, the I-70-and-Berthoud-Pass-avoiding train from Denver's Union Station to the base of the ski area in Grand County, are up about 70 percent over this time last year.

Amtrak has sold more than 2,000 tickets so far, says company spokesman Marc Magliari. He credits new service on every Friday of the season that runs from January to March. Last year, trains ran on just two Fridays per month.

"We're also getting more group bookings this year than last, probably because of the additional Fridays," he said. "It's easier for business groups to book themselves on a Friday than ask their employees to come in on a Saturday or Sunday."

Last season, Amtrak sold 19,200 tickets — it's best season ever, since being resurrected in 2017. Its predecessor ran from 1940 to 2009, when the Anschutz Company shut it down citing rising costs.

After its return, the train was been praised for being a cozy -- if expensive -- alternative to driving to the slopes. Prices for one-way tickets have since dropped to $29, if you buy 'em far enough in advance. But they run up to to $59 if you don't.

And there's one more possible reason behind the boost in bookings, Magliari said. A snowy fall means Winter Park and other ski areas in Colorado's central mountains are already open.

"The fact that people are skiing now is leading people to think about skiing in January, February and March too," he said.