If the idea of a car-free ski trip sounds too good to be true, you can turn your dreams into reality at Winter Park Resort, nestled high in the Rocky Mountains just 67 miles outside of Denver. On a recent spring break trip, our family of five arrived by rail to Winter Park Resort’s snow-capped ski village without ever renting a car or battling the dreaded I-70 weekend traffic to get there.
The Winter Park Express — Colorado’s only ski-specific train — is a historic train trip that originated in 1912 but was relaunched in 2017 through a new partnership with Amtrak, giving skiers and boarders direct access to the broad powder-cloaked slopes and wavy mogul-rippled steeps that make up Winter Park Resort’s 3,000 acres of skiable terrain without ever climbing behind the wheel. This season, the Denver to Winter Park ski train runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, now through March 29, departing Union Station at 7 a.m. and arriving at Winter Park at 9 a.m., and departing Winter Park at 4:30 p.m. and arriving at Union Station at 6:40 p.m.
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Accessibility and affordability are always top considerations when traveling with our three kids over spring break. We booked direct flights from Austin to Denver with our five round-trip flights totaling under $1,500. Once arriving at Denver International Airport, you can go straight from the city to the slopes by catching a light rail to Denver Union Station and climbing aboard the Winter Park Express that transports you directly to the base of Winter Park Resort. Let’s be honest, when you’ve got little kids along for the ride, there’s no cooler mode of transportation to get from the city to the mountains than by train. But adults will appreciate dodging rental car lines and swapping sights of tail lights for tranquil views of the snow-dusted pines and breathtaking canyons and cliffs that punctuate the two-hour trek. Ticket prices range from $29-$59 one way, and one child ages 2-12 may accompany each ticketed adult at half fare. Learn more at amtrak.com/winterparkexpress.
If your ski trip falls during the week, you still have the option of a car-free spring break by climbing aboard the Amtrak California Zephyr to Fraser and taking a short shuttle ride to Winter Park Resort.
The laid-back, family-friendly resort, which boasts a base elevation of 9,000 feet and a 3,060-foot vertical rise and averages more than 315 inches of annual snow, is giving Central Texans an added incentive to escape to the mountains this spring break. Winter Park Resort’s Fun in the Sun spring break discount packages, valid for stays between March 1 and April 19, save guests 25 percent on lodging, lift tickets and activities during their spring break adventure if they book before Feb. 10. Find details at winterparkresort.com/plan-your-trip/deals-and-packages/fun-in-the-sun.