Daily Archives: March 8, 2017

Denver Ski Traffic 2017 in Colorado

Denver ski traffic on Interstate 70 has gotten much worse over the past few years.  So many new people moved to Colorado and now want to go play outdoors as well.  Ski vacationers are still coming as well.

Saturdays are the worst days for traveling west-bound out of Denver on I-70.  To really beat traffic high-season, one must leave extremely early.  One needs to pass by the Morrison exit by 5:45am to beat the traffic jam.  I wake up at 4:30am and make sure to leave by 5am.

The few times I hit the snooze button and got to Morrison at 6 am, the traffic was already stopped bumper to bumper cars from Golden/Morrison to past Dumont/Empire.  That nearly made me late to work.

Car slides into ditch

Times were if one passed by Morrison by 6:15am one beat the traffic jam or the car wreck.  And there is always a car wreck.  Weather plays its roll as well.  The car wreck and weather still happen but now one must leave 30 minutes earlier.

CDOT has tried several methods to ease traffic.

First it was the widening of the Twin Tunnels.  Frightened tourists would often slam on their brakes at the east-bound tunnel entrance as they thought one needed to drive slowly into the tunnel.  This created traffic nightmares for ski traffic.   The tunnel widening and massive lights inside the tunnel helped stop this problem.

CDOT is now trying toll lanes.  Only the east-bound lane is complete at this time.  On its second winter, it does seem to help ski traffic at the end of the day.  I do wonder if all the people using the lane are actually paying tolls though.  Many vehicles weave in and out of the toll lane which is expressly forbidden to do.

New this year were the experimental Snowstang buses.  They went to Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Vail.  Round-trip tickets started at only $45.  The A-Basin ticket included a free $15 lunch voucher.

The Winter Park Express ski train made its debut starting in January 2017.  This happened due to CDOT, Union Pacific, Amtrak, and other governing bodies.  A 1.5 million dollar platform had to be built at the resort before it could get the green light.  The trains runs on Saturdays and Sundays with fares starting at $38 one-way.  So far, its been massively popular.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr train still runs from Denver to Fraser everyday.  One can get off the train in Fraser and take the free in-town shuttle to Winter Park resort.

Carpooling and Front Range Ski Bus are still popular options to beat ski traffic.   A number of other ski bus shuttles run as well but may cost more.

Denver ski traffic is really bad.  Especially in high season.  As the weather warms, many will cease skiing or snowboarding for the season.  It does mean that traffic will ease for the die-hard winter fans.

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