Friday, August 29, 2014

POTD: Summer Fun Via the Summer Ski Train

The Ski Train, that wonderful but lost Denver institution, once ferried Denverites and not just a few tourists to the mountains of Winter Park every winter for a day of skiing. It also ran during the summer, giving harried and heated residents some nature and natural air conditioning by ascending to the high country where the air is always a bit cooler. Sadly, in 2009, it all ended.* Nonetheless, in the waning years, the F40 engines and a matched consist made for a beautiful and glorious sight!

Ski Train
Photo of the Day: Mike Danneman
If the trees in the background look familiar, they should because yesterday's photo of the day was shot at nearly the same location. The Ski Train is pointing east toward the still rising sun while westbound toward the Moffat Tunnel and Winter Park on July 31, 2004, just 10 years ago. The brilliance of the Ski Train's aspen gold and silver looks just as fine as ever it did on the Rio Grande F7s and F9s. "In a few moments," Mr. Danneman says, "it will be traveling through Clay on the upper track at the top of the photo." You may need to click the photo to view it full size to discern the grade.



* - Opinion: The Ski Train was sold by its owner and efforts to continue or revive service failed in the face of Amtrak's withering bureaucracy. Five years on, if Denverites or their neighbors want to enjoy a cold beer at altitude and engage in local tourism, they will have to suffer untold hours in traffic on a clogged mess of a highway to get away from everyone else getting away. I know that there's something better, and it sickens me to think it is being held out of reach by people who don't see the market, a market pounding on its steering wheel and honking its horn.

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