Amtrak Winter Park Express
Amtrak Winter Park Express

The Amtrak Winter Park Express: Be in the know

Tickets are now available for The 2024 Amtrak Winter Park Express Train or the Amtrak Ski Train, which runs on weekends from January 12 to March 31, 2024, plus a few bonus weekdays. The Winter Park Express takes skiers (and anyone else) between Denver, CO, and Winter Park, CO, over the most scenic parts of the Califonia Zephyr route through the Rockies, with some views that can only seen by train!

The train trip allows you to avoid I-70 traffic and road conditions, and you will not have to worry about figuring out how you will get those skis on the rental car. Additionally, if you are inclined, you can have a few adult beverages (or hot cocoa or coffee) as you travel and enjoy the view. Get the schedule and more information in this post.

Amtrak Winter Park Express History

The original Ski Train ran continuously from 1940 to 2009. It was temporarily brought back for a weekend in 2015 to celebrate Winter Park’s 75th anniversary.

The anniversary train tickets sold out quickly, and there was interest in resurrecting the concept under a new partnership arrangement between Amtrak, Union Pacific, and the Winter Park resort.

When does the Winter Park Express operate?

The Amtrak Winter Express train takes skiers, or anyone else, through one of the most scenic parts of the Califonia Zephyr route through the Rockies, with some views only seen by train!

The days the train operates.

The train transports skiers every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting January 12 and continuing through the weekend of March 31, 2024.

This year, additional holiday service will include Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 15) and Presidents’ Day (Monday, February 19), as well as two “bonus Thursday” roundtrips on March 14 & 21.

Winter Park Express 2024 Schedule

1106
Westbound
Fr – Su
Read Down
The Winter Park Stations1105
Eastbound
Fr – Su
Read Up
7:00aDenver, CO Union Station(DEN)6:40 p
9:00aWinter Park Resort, CO (WPR)4:30 p
Last StopStationsRead Up

Amtrak Winter Park Express Coach Class Seating

Amtrak Coach
Amtrak Superliner coach seating

The Amtrak Winter Park Express offers comfortable coach-class accommodations for passengers. These comfortable seats lean back further than any economy airline seat can dream of, plus leg and footrest so you can stretch out. The best part is that there are no middle seats!

For your convenience, there is a seatback pocket and overhead luggage storage for storing your things as you travel. Additionally, each seat comes with a tray that folds down when needed and folds away when you don’t.

Seating is mainly on the upper level, with accessible seating on the lower level. The restrooms are also on the lower level of each car.

Example of an Amtrak Superliner Coach Car

Amtrak Superliner Coach Car Diagram
Superliner coach car diagram: Some cars do not have lower seating but have a space for baggage.

Electronics on the Winterpark Express

The train allows you to charge your devices as you travel. Each seat has a set of grounded (three-prong) outlets on the wall. An extension or a longer charging cord may make things easier if you are in the aisle seat. There are also outlets in the observation car.

This train does not have Wi-Fi; cell service may be spotty along the route because it runs in the mountains.

Going from the Denver International Airport to the Amtrak Winter Park Express

Those traveling through Denver can take a train from the airport to the Winter Park Express without renting a car or rideshare.

Take the A-Line downtown to Union Station from Denver International Airport. Downtown Denver has several places to explore, from 16th Street Mall to Larimer Square, and you can even stay in Union Station or other downtown accommodations.

Getting around the Amtrak Winter Express

Unlike planes, trains allow walking around any time, so if you want a treat, you can take a walk to Sightseer Lounge/Cafe car.

A look at the new refurb Amtrak Superliner seats.
Amtrak Superliner lower-level coach seating (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com)

You must be on the upper level if you want to go from car to car, but to exit the train or use the bathroom, you must go to the lower level.

Remember that trains can sway when walking around the train, so keep at least one hand free to brace yourself as you walk. You can hold on to seat backs, or if you are taller, the luggage racks.

When going between cars, use the striped handles to ensure stability, and you must wear shoes when walking around the train.

What do you see from the Amtrak Winter Park Express?

After the Winter Express leaves Denver Union Station, it heads northwest, climbing toward the Rocky Mountains and following the Colorado River. It offers views of the famous Flatirons above Boulder and the surrounding plains.

Donner Pass
Donner Pass

This train travels through 31 tunnels, including several hand-built remote tunnels! These tunnels can be fascinating because some are so short that you will miss them if you blink to the longest and most famous Moffat Tunnel, which is 6.2 miles long and cuts through the Continental Divide.

Once you leave the Moffat Tunnel, you will see Donnar pass, and soon, you will be in Winter Park. You will arrive at the heated platform and walk 100 feet to the nearest ski lift or gondola.

While on the train, you can see sites like the Rocky Mountains and Moffat Tunnel.

Baggage & Skis on the Winter Park Express

Winter Park Express customers can bring one carry-on item and two personal items. During boarding, your skis will be placed in a dedicated baggage storage area, all for free.

Amtrak checked bag service is unavailable on this train. Here is more info on Amtrak’s carry-on policy.

Food on the Winter Park Express

Refreshed Sightseer Car
A refreshed Amtrak Superliner Sightseer Car.

The train has a cafe on the lower level of the Sightseer Lounge, offering food and drinks.

Food is grab-and-go, and Amtrak can heat the food you purchase. The car should be near the middle of the train, and the stairs to the cafe are in the middle of the Sightseer Lounge.

You can bring food and drink aboard, but Amtrak cannot store or heat that food.

Refrain from bringing food into the cafe due to FDA rules, and you cannot drink the alcohol you brought aboard.

Amtrak Superliner Sightseer Lounge layout
Amtrak’s Superliner Sightseer offers places upstairs to watch the country go by and host the café on the lower half.

Winter Park Resort and ski lift tickets

New for the 2024 ski season, Winter Park Resort is debuting the Wild Spur Express, a new six-person high-speed lift on Vasquez Ridge, and four new pop-up dining outposts to make it easier for skiers and riders to grab a quick bite and get back to enjoying Winter Park.

A new taproom in the Village, Sundog Taproom, gives guests a casual, centralized gathering spot after a fun day on the slopes.

Lift tickets and other passes can be purchased directly from the Winter Park Resort website.

Booking the Amtrak Winter Park Express

You can book this train online, through the Amtrak App, at the Denver Union Station, or by phone (1-800-USA-Rail). To book this train, use the DEN and WPS station codes.

The Winter Park Express offers many everyday discounts when booking, starting with kids (aged 2-12) riding for 50% off. Plus, discounted fares are available for seniors, students, military members, and customers with disabilities.

California Zephyr: the Winter Park Express alternative

California Zephyr
The California Zephyr

If you need train service during the week or at a different time, is the California Zephyr, a daily long-distance train to Winter Park.

Once you get there, The Lift can help get you where you need to go for free!

The shuttle runs from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. in and around Winter Park and Fraser, including Winter Park Resort. It is available for non-skiers or those with lodging and adventures booked downtown; visit theliftwp.com for more information and updates.

The California Zephyr is also a great option if you are coming from California, Illinois, or one of the train’s intermediate stops because you can stay on the train and not have to transfer to the ski train.

When booking, still use WPS and DEN for station codes; this way, you will secure the shuttle, but you will get off at the Fraiser -Winter Park, CO (WPI) stop, which is different than where you get off for the ski train.

Be aware that you cannot check your skis at all stations along the Zephery route, and because this train is not THE ski train, you may have to pay for skis.

5
Westbound
Daily
Read Down
Stations6
Eastbound
Daily
Last Stop
8:05aDenver, CO
Union Station(DEN)
6:38p
10:02aWinter Park Resort, CO (WIR)3:00p
The shuttle will transport you to and from this stop.
Last StopStationsRead Up

A few Amtrak Winter Park Express tidbits

Tidbits are always great, and here are a few you might use.

Booking Groups

Amtrak Winter Park Express locomotive waiting in Denver
Amtrak Winter Park Express

Passengers in small groups of up to eight can purchase Winter Park Express tickets on the Amtrak Website or the Amtrak app.

Passengers in groups of 9 – 14 can call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) to make a reservation.

Groups of 15 or more — including requests for exclusive car occupancy — should make a group travel request, and an Amtrak representative will contact you. For more information about group travel, call 1-800-USA-1GRP (1-800-872-1477) Monday through Friday, 6 am – 6 pm MT.

Travelers With Disabilities

Each departure offers dedicated accessible seating, and Denver (DEN) and Winter Park (WPR) are fully accessible stations. Passengers who need it can also book a seat on the lower level of the car, eliminating the need for stairs.

Safe Travels!

Kev

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.