by David Kriso
Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
All you need is a round-trip ticket onboard the Amtrak Vermonter or the Ethan Allen Express. Both train trips are ones you cannot miss. If you, your friends, and family are avid skiers, taking the train to the slopes is the perfect trip waiting for you. Vermont is known for having the longest ski season in the country. It is home to the most famous and popular ski resorts including Killington, Stowe, Smugglers Notch and Sugarbush. What are you waiting for? All aboard the for the slopes.
Making your reservation is very easy. All it takes is a visit to Amtrak.com. There you can make your reservation online, and you're done. If reserving online isn't your preference, you can also make your reservation over the phone toll-free at 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). You can then pick up your tickets at the station ticket window, or print them out at any QuikTrak ticket machine. They are available at all major Amtrak stations. Tickets can also be mailed to your home, as long as you make your reservation ten days or more before traveling.
Amtrak takes good care of skiers onboard. There are two Vermont-bound trains to choose from. The Vermonter runs from Washington, DC to St. Albans, Vermont. The train follows the Northeast Corridor from Washington DC to New Haven, Connecticut, then continues on to St. Albans via the Hartford-Springfield route. At Palmer, Massachusetts, the train performs a switchback to gain access to the New England Central route up toward White River Junction, Montpelier, and St. Albans. On the New England Central route, you pass some of the most spectacular scenery you don't see anywhere else. Northeastern New England is a gorgeous area to travel through. The traveling time on board the Vermonter depends on where you board. If you board at Newark or New York-Penn Station, your trip is approximately seven hours. If you board in Washington DC, the trip is just under fourteen hours. No matter how long the trip is on the Vermonter, you will feel right at home.
The other train to experience is the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express. This train runs from New York Penn Station to Rutland, Vermont via Albany, New York. You depart New York's Penn Station and snake through a tunnel on the Amtrak west side route. The tracks take you up along the west side of New York City. Just before you reach the northern tip of Manhattan Island, you glide underneath the east end of the George Washington Bridge. Afterward, the train crosses over the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, where the Harlem River meets the Hudson River. The train continues up along the Hudson River past incredible scenery with the mighty Hudson flowing along side you. The train will make station stops at Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Castleton. After Castleton, the train makes its final station stop at Rutland. The approximate traveling time from New York City to Rutland is five and a half hours, which gives you plenty of time to rest up.
The Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express have two types of accommodations onboard. Both trains feature reserved Coach and Business class. In the Business class car, you are treated with a complimentary newspaper and you are allowed one free non-alcoholic beverage from the Café Car. In Business class, the seats recline a bit further than in contrast to those in Coach class. Even better, the windows have curtains. When you take Amtrak to the slopes, you feel more comfortable than that awful feeling of being squished in the back seat of your car or on a chartered bus. Taking the train will take you away from those inconveniences.
There are some important tips for all you skiers if you plan to take the train. The most important tip is to give yourself enough time. You should arrive at the station at least half hour prior to your train's departure. The second most important tip is make sure your skis and luggage have appropriate identification attached to them. All Amtrak stations carry luggage tags, for both carry-on and checked luggage. When heading off to the slopes, you should always be travel in style. The train is the key to having a great time anywhere, no matter where the rails may take you.
Taking the train is the most reliable form of transportation we have today. No matter where you're traveling to, Amtrak is there to help make your trip the utmost comfortable and memorable. The next time you are planning on escaping to the ski slopes in Vermont, count on Amtrak. Taking the train to your skiing getaway is definitely the best way to make "tracks."