Winter Park Express sees record number of passengers this season
Since the train's revival in 2017, ridership has only gone up
Just two years into the revival of the Winter Park Express, this season saw more passengers than ever taking advantage of the service between Denver and Winter Park Resort.
According to Winter Park Resort, over 19,200 tickets were sold for the 32 round-trips this season, which ended in March.
“With the train’s continual growth in ridership, it’s been gratifying to see the incredible popularity of this Colorado institution for visitors on the Front Range, throughout the country, and beyond,” said C.A. Lane, vice president of operations and assistant general manager for Winter Park Resort.
Ticket sales were up 7 percent over last year and up 8 percent over 2017. The growing popularity of the train could be for several reasons, with resort and Amtrak officials highlighting recent efforts to improve both the trip and the destination.
This year was the first year the Winter Park Express offered snacks and beverage service, as well as a Sightseer Lounge Car with floor to ceiling windows to enjoy the views. Winter Park Resort debuted its new 10-person gondola and almost $30 million in improvement projects this season, including improved snowmaking and an upgraded base plaza.
Aside from new services, this season’s excellent snowfall helped attract visitors to the resort. Thanks to over 300 inches of snow, the resort saw visitation increase 5 percent over last season.
“We were blessed with great ski conditions as we looked out from the train to growing delays for drivers on I-70 and US-40,” said Amtrak Senior Director Rob Eaton. “We’ve made it even easier and even more fun to do a day, a weekend or more in Winter Park.”
With a new lift upgrade in the works at Winter Park Resort and a reputation as the Best Ski Resort in North America, officials are optimistic that the Winter Park Express will continue to see an increase in its utilization.
“Nowhere else in North America can you take a train from a major metropolitan city to the slopes of a world-class ski resort and we look forward to working with our good friends at Amtrak and the other railroads to continue to evolve this service for the future,” Lane said.
Since 2017, more than 52,000 passengers have taken the service, which exclusively serves Winter Park Resort and is the only ski train in the state.
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When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.