We were at Winter Park a week ago. I considered the ski train, but our trip ran Wednesday to Sunday, so it didn't work. Also considered the Cal Zephyr, but my wife felt it was just too much time (21 hours from Chicago). If improvements related to expanded service west of Chicago ever allowed a faster trip, I could probably convince her that arriving with time to ski after sleeping on the way made it worth it.
Our flight back was a disaster. 2.5 hours of baggage check lines double-wrapped around the Southwest area of DIA because their baggage conveyor was down, and we only made our flight because it was delayed an hour and a half waiting to load as much luggage as could get their. None of our bags made our flight. Four were delivered to us the following afternoon and the other three the next night.
Flying, including driving from Winter Park to DIA, was about 11 hours of travel. But of course, if we took Amtrak, we'd need to get to Union Station, which would add another hour. The Zephyr leaves Chicago at 2:00. If it left at 5:00, and still arrived at Fraser before noon, that would be much better.
When I was researching, I didn't recognize that the Zephyr stops in Fraser, but not WP, whereas the ski train stops at WP, but not Fraser. I had noticed the idea of shuttling, but thought it was from WP train to WP bus shuttle station.
The usefulness of the ski train seems mostly limited to Denverites, given it's sparse service and downtown terminus. If it were just me and my wife, maybe, but with the kids, getting from DIA to Denver Union Station with skis and luggage adds just enough to logistics that I can't see doing it. (Or rather, can't see convincing my wife.)
There's so much traffic on the road over the Berthoud Pass and so little chance of expanding the roadway, and yet the train and bus options are really not great. To meet up with us after arriving late, my nephew took a $150 Uber (after tip).
Last edited by ryanwc on Sat Jan 13, 2024 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.