I've never had much luck with scenic family drives. I'm a Denver transplant, and my family comes in from the Midwest every so often to see me and the mountains. Inevitably, the six of us pile into my car (which seats five uncomfortably). In good weather, my mom points out brake lights miles ahead and cringes at passing traffic. On icy I-70 treks, she closes her eyes and whispers Hail Marys.
So next time they visit, I'm splurging on Ski Train tickets. The train, which makes weekend trips from Union Station to Winter Park, just kicked off its 68th season. Once piled with little kids in ski gear, today it hosts a fifty-fifty mix of skiers and snowboarders and families who just want to spend a day in the mountains. The two-and-a-half-hour trip takes you through isolated, snow-covered scenery.
Spokesman Dan Christopherson says the coach seats provide more leg room than anyone could ever want and the club car has even more. "It's a fun, mellow experience," he says. "Families do it as a once-a-year tradition. It's not something people do every weekend." That's because this passage isnt cheap: Coach tickets are $49 for adults and $44 for kids, seniors and groups of twelve or more; $74 will snag you a seat in the club car, which includes a Continental breakfast and afternoon snacks.
The train currently runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Friday trips will be added as of February 1, and Thursday trips will start on March 1. The Ski Train leaves Union Station at 7:15 a.m. and Winter Park at 4:15 p.m. You can bring your skis, take a shuttle into town for shopping, book a heated snowcat tour or go for a snowmobile ride. For more information, visit www.skitrain.com or call 303-296-4754.
Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: Jan. 5. Continues through March 30, 2008