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As tens of thousands of Coloradans prepare to trek from the Front Range to the ski slopes, a new guide from the CoPIRG Foundation and Snowriders International highlights 16 ways for people to get to the slopes without driving their personal car. Among the options, the two groups highlighted CDOT’s soon-to-be-launched SnowStang, the Front Range Ski Bus, RTD’s N line to Eldora, the Winter Park Express ski train, numerous shared shuttles from Denver International Airport and ride share options like Carpool World and SkiCarpool.org.
“For years, the only real way for Coloradans to get to the ski slopes has been to drive their personal car,” said Danny Katz, Director of the CoPIRG Foundation. “Given there’s only a couple of routes and thousands of us are going to just a handful of places, all of us driving our own cars is completely inefficient However, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of options people have to get to their favorite mountains without driving their own vehicle.”
“An overreliance on personal vehicles to get from the Front Range to our favorite ski mountains is inefficient and contributes unnecessary amounts of pollution,” said Lucie Coleman an organizer with Snowriders International. “We need options that can get snow riders to the slopes that do not have such a negative impact on our environment – the very thing we are heading up to the mountains to enjoy.”
The guide identified 16 services or applications to use to find ways up to the mountains without your personal car including:
- SnowStang – soon-to-be-launched bus service operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation that will run on February 11th and February 25th and take people from the Federal Center in Golden to Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Winter Park, and Beaver Creek.
- Amtrak Winter Park Express ski train – a train operated by Amtrak, which leaves Denver’s Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays (and President’s Day) and runs to Winter Park and back.
- The Front Range Ski Bus – a privately-operated bus that runs Wednesday through Sunday from Denver Union Station and the Woolly Mammoth park n Ride off I-70’s exit 259 to Copper Mountain and Loveland and back.
- RTD’s “N” bus which runs from downtown Boulder to Eldora multiple times a day.
- Ride sharing options including carpooling connectors like Carpool World and SkiCarpool.org as well as basic
- Numerous shared and non-shared shuttle vans that connect Denver International Airport to the mountains
Some of the options highlighted in the guide were on display at the Federal Center where the new guide was publicly released including CDOT’s SnowStang bus. SnowStang is a pilot project that CDOT launched in time for the busy February ski traffic month. In 2016, 172,000 vehicles passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel just during the four day President’s weekend. The SnowStang will build off the success of the CDOT operated Bustang, which operates along I-25 north to Fort Collins and south to Colorado Springs, and along the I-70 corridor terminating in Glenwood Springs. Since its launch in June of 2015, Bustang’s ridership has increased steadily and now carries 13,000 people per month system wide and 3,700 along I-70. Even after adding additional routes along the I-70 corridor, the Bustang is at capacity.
Since re-launching in January, 2017 after a nearly decade long absence, Amtrak’s Winter Park Express ski train has been sold out four of the past five weekends. The Front Range Ski Bus not only offers weekend service but transports snow enthusiasts Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as well. RTD’s “N” bus line operates daily taking people to Eldora. Amtrak’s California Zephyr service can be paired with Bustang or local transit options to also carry people from Denver to Glenwood Springs and on to Aspen or Beaver Creek and Vail.
“We applaud CDOT, RTD, Amtrak and the private enterprises that are aggressively working to give people options to get to the ski slopes. With extremely limited funds, they are providing services that give people choices. However, it is not enough. We need to find a lot more funding and encourage more investments to expand options that can move people safely and efficiently through the limited routes to the ski slopes,” said Katz. “More funding is going to be the key to providing Coloradans with long-term, sustainable, efficient options.”
“We need to continue to expand the ways skiers, boarders and summer recreation enthusiasts get to our mountains, especially modes that move people safely, efficiently and with less environmental impacts on the beautiful outdoor places we are travelling to enjoy,” said Coleman.
For a copy of the guide, click HERE.
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