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All aboard! The Winter Park Express ski train is back

Dec. 11, 2021
4 min read
people with ski gear wait next to a train
All aboard! The Winter Park Express ski train is back
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It may not be the Polar Express. But to skiers, it may be the next best thing. The famous Winter Park Express ski train will return in January to connect Denver with Winter Park Resort, located 67 miles and a breathtaking expanse away.

Amtrak announced that the service will begin the weekend of Jan. 14-16. It will operate every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the weekend of April 1-3.

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The Winter Park Express ski train leaves Denver's historic Beaux Arts Union Station (DEN) at 7 a.m., arriving in Winter Park (WPR) at 9 a.m. The return train departs from Winter Park at 4:30 p.m., arriving back in Denver at 6:40 p.m. Note that since Union Station is connected by rail to Denver International Airport, it is possible to fly in and then get to the slopes entirely by rail.

(Photo courtesy of Ikon Pass)

The return of the ski train is particularly welcome news after a pandemic-related hiatus for the 2020-2021 season. This rail ride is an iconic one, and for good reason.

Related: Why Winter Park should be your next ski destination

For one thing, the two-hour journey includes some of the most beautiful and historic landscapes in the western U.S. Not only will passengers enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains as the train ascends from Denver, but they will also traverse tunnels that are nothing short of engineering marvels. One of them, the 6-mile-long Moffat Tunnel, was cut through the Continental Divide almost a century ago.

Amtrak is utilizing its two-level Superliner rail cars to service the ski train route. Passengers will enjoy panoramic views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the upstairs car. Food and drink are available from the cafe downstairs.

If you're riding the ski train, you can bring two carry-on items and two personal items. The good news is that skis are considered part of your carry-on baggage. They'll ride safely along in a special baggage area, at no extra charge.

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Related: Everything you need to know about this year’s ski season, from new resorts to reservation rules

Know that all passengers and employees are required to wear a mask while onboard the Winter Park Express and in train stations. Amtrak also requires a pre-trip COVID-19 check within 24 hours of departure.

For its part, Winter Park Resort has operated for more than eight decades and is consistently ranked one of the country's top family-friendly ski destinations. As with most of the country's ski resorts, COVID-19-related rules and requirements are less strict there than they were last season.

Read more: 7 mistakes to avoid when planning a ski trip

According to the resort's website, there is currently no requirement for proof of vaccination to stay, dine or ski. However, unvaccinated guests must wear masks indoors — and all guests are encouraged to do the same, regardless of vaccination status.

(Photo courtesy of Winter Park Resort)

There are currently no requirements that visitors make parking reservations (though this is not true for all popular ski resorts this winter).

Winter Park Express tickets are available through Amtrak. One-way fares start at $29, with a special rate of $14.50 for children ages 2-12.

We found a round-trip itinerary opening weekend for $68 per person.

Booking page for train journey to Winter Park. (Screenshot courtesy Amtrak)

Related: 6 things you must know before taking a first ski trip

For more information about the resort you can click here.

Featured image by ANDY CROSS/THE DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023