The Ski Train’s Grande Return

A decade after it last ran, Amtrak and Winter Park team up to bring back a Denver tradition.

By Justin Franz

Winter Park Express, Colorado

Early on a Saturday morning in March, dozens of skiers and snowboarders converge on Denver Union Station. As the sun rises over the still-sleeping city, people with skis slung over their shoulders and bags of boots, goggles, and gloves trudge across the platform, walking under the neon “Travel by Train” sign that has been an identifying feature of the station since 1958, when aviation patronage began to overtake that of the railroads.

As another group walks onto the platform, a woman looks up at a waiting passenger train and says, “It’s back.”

“It” is the Winter Park Express, the reincarnation of a seasonal passenger train that took skiers directly to the slopes, and was a Denver tradition for more than 60 years, but disappeared nearly a decade ago. Now, thanks to Amtrak, the Winter Park Resort, and a dedicated group of supporters, one of Colorado’s most famous trains is back.

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This story appeared in the December 2017 issue of Trains Magazine.