FYI, I’ve been on a trip to the west coast, so haven’t blogged in a few days, sorry to any of my loyal readers.
Working at Winter Park Ski Resort this past winter, I walked by the Moffatt Tunnel pretty much each day I worked. Most of us employees parked at North Bench lot which was on the other side. I would often think how much easier it would be for me, if I could magically get through that tunnel. As I walked by the tunnel, I would reflect on what it represented to so many skiers over the years who took the Ski Train. I wrote on the Ski Train in earlier blog posts — its history, the fun its riders enjoyed.
This past winter, the ski train took on more meaning to me in terms of the transportation it represents. CDOT recently opened up an Express Lane from the Winter Park exit to Idaho Springs, a sum total of 11 miles of highway on I-70 East. For paying up anywhere between $3 and $6, one could bypass 11 miles of traffic to jump ahead of the hordes of other skiers returning from the slopes on any given Sunday. I guess it may have worked in some small way, all the thought of paying that much money for that seemed absurd to me.
It also seemed absurd in that if skier traffic has become that much of an issue, why on earth wouldn’t we explore other forms of transportation to ease the congestion on I-70? For years, a ski train ran from Denver’s Union Station direct to Winter Park Resort every weekend, and then for some reason, bureaucracy reared its ugly head and the ski train stopped running in 2009. Some sort of discrepancy about what type of train the ski train was and what kind of insurance it required derailed (pardon the pun) efforts to keep it running. Given that Winter Park is one of the top ten ski resorts in skier visits, you’d think any method of transporting skiers that didn’t require travel on I-70 would be good not just for Winter Park but for all ski resorts.
Well, a piece of good news on this front came the other day with an announcement by CDOT. CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) announced they were awarding 1.5 million dollars towards reconstructing a platform at Winter Park and making other repairs, so that once again the ski train could transport skiers direct to the slopes. Terrific news, and more than that a symbol of CDOT’s renewed commitment to get the ski train up and running once again.
Though there are no guarantees, it is a sign of things to come. Hopefully, it won’t be long before people once again are boarding the train instead of climbing in their cars, spending a fun day of skiing the slopes, and enjoying a relaxing ride back to Denver, with nary a minute spent on I-70. Here’s hoping…