Getting to and from Colorado’s high country can be a challenge for college students across the state, especially those without a car. However, there are plenty of alternate transportation options—plus some good old-fashioned ones—that allow even the carless among us the chance to enjoy Colorado Ski Country and its many ski areas.
Simple, efficient, relatively-environmentally friendly and cheap, carpooling has been the name of the game for as long as lifts have been turning, and for good reason. Carpooling means that cost of gas is split between multiple people (as well as the cost of snacks and beverages if you’re riding in my car). Plus, carpooling means reducing environmental impact, and is a chance to meet new people. Services like SkiCarpool.org, can help you find rides or share your own, and find new friends for the slopes. For the intrepid college skier, carpooling is a great way to meet other skiers at your school, and to share the cost too.
Winter Park Express
The Winter Park Express is an exciting, historic and plainly-awesome way to get up to the mountains. Leaving from Union Station in downtown Denver, the train offers trips to Winter Park every weekend. Sitting back and reading the paper or a book, enjoying the views or counting the 28 tunnels the train goes through on its two-hour ride are just a few of the ways to enjoy train-travel to Winter Park. I
Good ol’ Bustang. Familiar to anybody who has made a trip from Fort Collins to Denver, CDOT’s Bustang service is a fantastic and relatively cheap way to make it into the mountains for the carless masses. Grabbing the bus from Union Station, one can take it to Frisco for $12, and further into the mountains for not much more, including all the way to Grand Junction or other locations along highway 285. Click here to explore all the options.
RTD Ski and Ride
Serving Eldora Mountain Resort, the Ski-n-Ride Route N offers students, especially those at CU, the chance to ski Eldora and not have to worry about driving. For a day pass price of $10.50, Ski-n-Ride is an enjoyable and easy option to hit the slopes in an environmentally friendly and cheap way. It is an easy option from Denver as well with one transfer.
School Ski Buses
Most colleges and universities in Colorado offer some sort of affordable transportation to the mountains at various times throughout the semester. Beyond being green and cheap, and a way for the carless to get some turns in, these buses offer a great opportunity for novice skiers to meet others and have a supportive day trip together. CU, CSU and DU (through the Alpine Club) all offer ski buses throughout the year, usually for cheaper-than-gas prices, around $20 or less per person per ride.
Justin Cygan is a fourth-year student at the University of Denver, where he studies International Relations and Journalism. Born and raised in Colorado, he learned to ski and snowboard at his home mountain of Loveland, where he still regularly rides today. When not chasing pow he can be found skateboarding, writing, reading, cooking and taking pictures in Denver and throughout the state. Justin is the proud father of a year-old aloe plant. Read more of Justin’s stories here.