Tag Archives: Denver

Denver’s Union Station: Amtrak is Back

Landmark station still a work in progress as California Zephyr returns.

Amtrak-logoAfter being shunted to the cinderblock ignominy of a temporary station in Denver for three long years as Denver’s historic Union Station is remade into an multi-modal transportation hub, restaurant cluster and hotel, Amtrak’s California Zephyr is returning to Union Station with the first eastbound departure this evening, Friday, February 28 at 7:10 p.m. — if it is not delayed. And, of course, during the 133-year-old’s station reconstruction, it is moving to yet another temporary location.

East- and west-bound California Zephyr trains passing in Glenwood Canyon in winter. Photo: WikiMedia
East- and west-bound California Zephyr trains passing in Glenwood Canyon in winter. Photo: WikiMedia

The first westbound departure is scheduled for 8:05 a.m. Part of me wants to take a train trip from Denver to San Francisco someday, but the train doesn’t really go to San Francisco but rather to Oakland — and the trip takes 51 hours even without delays. So maybe not for me after all.

Still, I celebrate the return of Amtrak even as I doubt I will bother. I’ll save my train lust for Europe and visit Union Station to eat.

Wonderful ‘Go Big or Go Home’ Travel Blog

New Pinterest travel pins announcement led me to this bright blog

GoBigGoHome-logoI don’t know the creators of the Go Big or Go Home travel blog. The mom is Traci and the dad is Matt. The kids are identified as The Boy and The Girl. I don’t know where the family lives. But that doesn’t really matter at all. I feel their sense of curiosity and wonder via their blog about “What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The ‘World’s Largest’… Whatever!”

I found them as I was clicking around cyber-chatter relating to Pinterest’s new “travel pins” — and this site came up. It has won all sorts of blogging awards — rightly so, for it displays the family’s great approach and great attitude. I’m adding their blog to my list of faves. And if they stumble upon this blog, I invite them to check out Denver’s Big Blue Bear in person someday.  It might be the world’s largest bear or maybe merely the world’s largest blue bear. But this wonderful example over oversize street art as it peers into the Denver Convention Center merits a visit if and when the family comes to Colorado.

Denver's 40-foot-high Big Blue Bear. Photo" xcite.com.
Denver’s 40-foot-high Big Blue Bear. Photo: xcite.com.

Labor Day Ski/Snowboard Deals are Huge Draw

SNIAGRAB is a 57-year tradition in sports-crazed Colorado

Colorado’s Front Range chalked up the hottest August on record, making those of us who love snowsports wistful for winter. Even though the lead-up to Labor Day was toasty (but unlike much of the East, South and Midwest, not humid), Colorado’s big three ski/snowboard retailers’ end-of-summer, prelude-to-winter megasales always draw big crowds.

Although I usually hit one or two of the Boulder stores, today, I went to Denver for the annual SNIAGRAB sale at Sports Authority’s Sportscastle, the landmark building (originally a car showroom) where SNIAGRAB (BARGAINS spelled backwards) started 57 years ago when it was Gart Brothers. The sale starts tomorrow for the general public, but yesterday and today, the doors were open for VIP customers. Not that I’m a VIP; I signed up and you can too by clicking here.

The most dedicated bargain hunters set up tents on the sidewalk alongside the Sportscastle. There are perks for earlybirds, including a chance to win $500 in bonus bucks.

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SNIAGRAB is not only a Denver area tradition, but I learned today that that out-of-towners who plan to ski/ride Colorado often travel to Denver from distant places to get deals on gear and buy the cheapest lift passes of the season. Some pile into the car and make a holiday weekend road trip out of it. Some even fly. That seems wildly extravagant to me, but one of the managers (they’re the ones wearing the gray SNIAGRAB shirts on the sales floor) said that some customers fly in and even Europe every year. For all I know, some come in on their own planes. Many of them have a condo or a second home in the Colorado mountains and combine SNIAGRAB with other Denver holiday weekend attractions and activities.

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I’ve heard, read and seen on TV news reports that come Saturday morning, the scattered VIP customers will be replaced by a throng of bargain-seekers, including those skiers and riders from near and far. Some pitch tents early to be the first in line for doorbuster specials that save 64 to 80% off original prices. In any case. I’m glad I went today and can hardly wait to use my new skis. I saw a TV report that despite the heat, Loveland was testing out its snow guns the other day, so it won’t be long.

Apparel for adults and kids (shown here) and for skiers and snowboarders are up to 75% off original retail.
Kids' season rentals -- one of the best ways for families to save money -- are promoted via displays in front of the Sportscastle as well as inside.
Ski areas including from Araphoe Basin and Aspen/Snowmass to Vail Resorts (Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek) and Winter Park offer the best-priced passes for the coming season at the Labor Day sales.

 

The deals aren't confined "only" to equipment, apparel, accessories and lift tickets. The National Ski Patrol is selling its lightweight first-aid kit for $10 -- regularly $15.

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In addition to SNIAGRAB, Labor Day weekend sales include Colorado Ski & Golf’s and Boulder Ski Deals’ Ski Rex sale, and Christy Sports puts on Powder Daze at Park Meadows. Buying winter stuff at heavily discounted prices is, after all, a Denver are tradition.

 

Canopy Parking is DIA’s Newest, Greenest Facility

New eco-friendly, off-site parking facility debutes at Denver International Airport

The most eco-friendly (and most economical) way to park at Denver International Airport is to take an RTD bus, but the next greenest is the new Canopy Airport Parking facility that opens tomorrow. The 4,200-car, ultra-green facility uses solar, wind and geothermal energy sources, and  the most impressive of its stellar services is  a free recharging stations for electric vehicles. They promise such enhanced services as bringing  the customers car out and read to go when he or she phones or texts from the terminal.

It opens tomorrow and offers an introductory printable coupon valid through December 15 that is good for $3 off daily parking (regularly $18 for indoor valet parking, $14 for covered self-parking and $9 for outdoor parking). 

The 4,200-car facility, which uses solar, wind and geothermal energy sources, provides customers with free daily newspapers, free coffee and free bananas. Click here to register for the 5280 Canopy Rewards loyalty program. 8100 Tower Road ( just north of Peña Boulevard), Commerce City; 303-574-9800