I love the towns along the I70 corridor, but let’s face it, ski traffic, and even summer traffic, has gotten terrible along this highway. If you can swing it, one of the best way to avoid traffic along this route is to plan your trip for Saturday to Monday. I realize this isn’t always possible, so here are some ways to avoid I70 ski traffic this winter.
The Amtrak Winter Park Express is back. This is great news, if you’ve got the money. The cheapest fare I could find for a Saturday in mid-January was $108 for a round trip ride per person. For two people, riding the ski train is a rather expensive proposition, but taking the ski train would be a fun way to celebrate a special occasion this winter.
Check times and prices for the Ski Train at Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress.
Again, this is a pricey alternative to driving I70, but it is an option. If you’ve got an extra $600, you can hop on a flight from Denver to Vail, and the flight time is just 53 minutes.
While Telluride isn’t located on the I70 corridor, commercial flights from Denver to this fantastic ski destination have recommenced after a several year hiatus. The new service is provided by Great Lakes Airlines, and a quick visit to FlyGreatLakes.com, shows roundtrip flights from Denver to Telluride to be around $650 in January.
There are a number of shuttle services to I70 ski destinations. These shuttle companies often run lift ticket specials for passengers, so this alternative to driving I70 can be a real win/win. Prices start around $45 for a round trip ride from Denver to an I70 ski resort.
GoI70.com has a good list of available shuttle rides to the mountains, including a Military Ski Bus that runs from Colorado Springs.
Take the Road Less Traveled
One way to avoid I70 ski traffic this winter is to ski elsewhere. Hwy 285 is a lot less busy than I70 during the winter, although it can get a bit crowded between Fairplay and Denver because some Breckenridge skiers have discovered this “backway” to get home after a day on the slopes.
Hwy 285 is the route to several great ski areas that have good snow and are relatively uncrowded.
Many Coloradans have an affinity for Monarch Mountain. This ski resort is located on Monarch Pass, just under three hours from Denver and two and a half hours from Colorado Springs.
Still other Coloradans believe the skiing at Crested Butte (Hwy 285 to US-50) is worth the four hour and 15 minute drive. Wolf Creek Ski Area, about four and a half hours from Denver, is another mountain that many find to be well worth the drive time it takes to get there.