Terra Sigillata

Goodbye, Ski Train???

i-527ec340658653d016882b3a07ec157a-Ski Train.jpg

Ski Train? Wasn’t that the title of a Cat Stevens song?

I was just getting around to putting up a science post when I just received a Tweet from my Rocky Mountain peeps at Denver’s Westword magazine, the indy pub of the Queen City of the Plains. (Actually, this is kind of a science post because I did a lot of science in Denver.).

In his post, “Video: Goodbye, Ski Train! We’ll think of you the day we finally punch Phil Anschutz,” Jared Jacang Maher writes:

The train had been making trips between Denver and Winter Park since 1940. The operation was owned by local billionaire Phil Anschutz. [Incidentally, he and his family foundation are the namesake of the new University of Colorado Denver Medical Campus]. But due to the economy and the uncertainty of the Union Station redevelopment, Anschutz Co. recently sold the Ski Train operation to a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway Co. So here it is heading into the great white North.

At least with a train you get a long goodbye.

Local. Billionaire. You’d think he could have kept it running as an historical public treasure.

Even if you’ve skied in Colorado, you may not have heard of The Ski Train. It was a treasure for generations of Coloradans who skied at Winter Park, the also-since-1940-City of Denver-owned ski resort which, you guessed it, was also sold in 2002 to the ski giant, Intrawest. (New York Times article here).

You could stay in downtown Denver for a nice romantic weekend, take the train up to Winter Park through some magnificent high country, ski all day, then come back for a great dinner in town, all while circumventing the suicidal need to smash one’s car into a bridge abutment in frustration with the unnerving traffic up Colorado’s interstate to the ski areas, I-70.

(Correction: you can never actually go fast enough on ski weekends to hurt yourself even if you crashed into a bridge abutment – this is why Dr Pharmboy would take us all out for lab ski day during the work week.)

So, while the website still works, go take a look at the beautiful pictures, vintage adverts, and history of what once was. And if you or a family member are a railroad enthusiast, go to the souvenir page and pick up one of the books and DVDs while they last.

Yet another victim of this miserable economy. But at least Canada gets the train.

Comments

  1. #1 Isis the Scientist
    May 14, 2009

    Good boy.

  2. #2 doug l
    May 14, 2009

    Odd…usually when one party buys another’s “operation” they do so to make money. Certainly they aren’t going to pick up the train and its tracks and move it Canada. They already have plenty up there anyway. Maybe the Canadians will figure out a way to make money offering better ski packages n stuff. It sure sounds like something more and more people would be interested in doing…particualary the “not going fast enough to hurt oneself” part.
    Cheer up…the snow is all going to melt away in a few years anyway.

  3. #3 Abel Pharmboy
    May 14, 2009

    @doug l – Good points – I looked at this Denver Post article and learned that the Canadian company that bought the train is Algoma Central Railway, a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway. Algoma runs a bunch of tourist trains out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, including the Snow Train.

    I’m not so worried about the snow melting – I had a Winter Park season pass my last year there but work kept me from going more than eight days that season. If only the inland sea could move back to Colorado, I’d be set.

    Thanks, Isis – I’ve been a slacker about posting this week.

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