A user’s guide to carless travel to the Colorado ski country
RTD ski-n-ride (Route N)
Amtrak California Zephyr
Front Range Ski Bus
Amtrak Winter Park Express
University of Colorado, Boulder Ski Bus Program
Colorado Mountain Express
Fresh Tracks Transportation
Peak 1 Express
Ride Share Options
Wayto Go SkiPool Program
More information from the guide can be found at CoPIRG.org.
The number of drivers using the Interstate 70 corridor to get to the mountains has seen continual increases, adding to traffic congestion and pollution. The Colorado Public Interest Research Group partnered with Snowriders International to create a guide for people looking to hit the slopes — without having to drive themselves there.
The guide highlights 16 different options to get to resorts across the Western Slope, separating which options have daily routes or just weekend access. Scheduling information for the various programs and their costs are all in one place. Programs include Greyhound Bus routes, the Front Range Ski Bus, the new SnowStang program as well as daily Bustang routes which run all the way to Glenwood Springs.
Additionally, there is shuttle information from the Denver International Airport. The final section of the guide has information on different car-sharing options such as SkiCarpool.org, and which resorts offer carpooling incentives. The full guide can be found on the organization’s website, CoPIRG.org.
The Colorado Public Interest Research Group may continue to update the guide if the program is successful. Many of the programs in the guide are focused on ski travel and may see some changes once the season ends. Its founder, Danny Katz, said that February is the opportune moment for the guide, because it is a busy travel month for the mountains. Last February, 172,000 cars traveled through the Eisenhower Tunnel during President’s Day Weekend.
“It’s silly to not use what we have, so we start from that position,” Katz said. “We’re glad that the options have grown, but we also want to highlight that this is not enough.”
Katz is hoping that this guide will be a starting point for bringing attention to successful programs and possibly sparking interest in more transportation options. He said that some of the programs are not affordable for everyone. The guide is also meant to highlight both the demand and popularity of alternative means of transportation. Amtrak’s Winter Park Express train, which was rebooted in January this year, has continuously sold out.
Lucie Coleman, a spokesperson with Snowriders International, said that while driving in a personal car used to be the most convenient way of getting to the mountains, it is quickly becoming outdated.
“As outdoor recreation enthusiasts, we want to see a flexible and modern transportation system that gets us where we need to go without harming the natural places that we love,” Coleman said. “The options in this guide show how far Denver has come toward making carless skiing a viable option.”
Snowriders is based out of Denver and works nationally with mountain regions to help protect the environment. Coleman said that transportation has recently become a focus point for the organization.
Both organizations pushed that alternative transportation options help to lessen traffic on I-70, which can also make the roads safer. If there are more transportation options, it can decrease the likelihood of someone traveling with a car not equipped for snowy weather. It can also mean fewer cars in local resort towns.
“It’s a lot easier to accept a busload of people who can be dropped off right at the slopes or downtown at your transit center than it is a bunch of cars driving around your streets trying to find parking,” Katz said.
Katz has long been an advocate of trying to push funding into transportation projects. Last October the Colorado Public Interest Research Group released a study on public transit needs throughout Colorado. The study found that statewide more than $1 billion needs to be invested annually in order to meet the needs of bikers, pedestrians and local transit riders. At least $50 million of that amount is needed for the I-70 corridor.
“When you think about it there’s really only two or three roads that lead from Denver up to the mountains and most of us are only going to a handful of places, but yet we’re all piling into personal vehicles and getting up there,” Katz said. “We just need to have a more efficient way to get up there.”
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