Winter Park announced today that the Winter Park Express will operate on Saturdays and Sundays between January 7 and March 26 during the height of the ski season. Popular ski days Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day will also be on the scheduled round-trip runs to the ski area in Colorado.

Denverites are overjoyed with the announcement, as train Travel eliminates the hassle of driving on congested I-70 to go skiing at the resort an hour and a half from Denver.

The service is a collaboration of Amtrak, Union Pacific, Colorado Department of Transportation, the City of Denver (which owns the ski area) and the town of Winter Park.

Ski Train remembered

It was Christmas week of 1940 when the first Ski Train pulled out of Denver’s Union Station. Now 76 years later — after stopping service in 2009 — the train will chug again through the scenic Rocky Mountains.

Every kid growing up in the 50s in Denver remembers the early days of the ski train.

Not only was the ski area one of a handful around, the train was the only form of ski transportation for many of them. Frank Buckley’s Eskimo Ski Club filled most of the cars that delivered hordes of youngsters to the new ski area west of the Moffat Tunnel. Now skiers and snowboarders of all ages enjoy the train ride in nicely refurbished cars.

How to buy tickets

You can buy tickets only through the amtrakwebsite beginning at 8 a.m.

Tuesday, August 30. Adult tickets start at $39 for one way. You can buy for a day trip or for longer overnight stays; reservations must be secured by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time the day before you leave. Kids 2-12 with an adult are half price.

Hours of operation

The Express train will leave Union Station in downtown Denver at 7 a.m. and arrive at the ski areaat about 9 a.m. At the end of the ski day, it will leave the ski area promptly at 4:30 p.m., arriving in Denver at 6:40 p.m.

“This is the culmination of a long but rewarding process and we couldn’t be more excited to have passenger rail service return," said Gary DeFrange, president of the resort.

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