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Denver - Keystone driving advice

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Heading to Keystone for a conference tomorrow, renting a standard SUV from Alamo for the trip, unlikely to have winter tires I guess but 4WD better than nothing. Any advice on the winter storm warning -

 

http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/keystone-co/80435/watches-warnings/2201315

 

Should be leaving the airport at midday so hopefully miss the worst of it but just wondering what peoples experience/advice was driving up to Summit County in bad weather. Relatively experienced in driving in winter conditions so hadn't been too worried but the following made be a bit uneasy

 

TRAVEL WILL BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND IS DISCOURAGED DUE TO SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW CAUSING WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. CONSIDER DELAYING TRAVEL UNTIL CONDITIONS IMPROVE. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP EXTRA FOOD...WATER...A FLASHLIGHT...AND DRY CLOTHING IN YOUR VEHICLE. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE AND WAIT FOR HELP TO ARRIVE.

 

Any radio stations to listen too with travel advice? Highway trouble spots? What happens if they close I70? Best places to stop for the night on the way up if it got bad? Traveling with wife and 1 year old daughter so don't want to be too cavalier...

 

...cheers

 

 

post #2 of 17

Car will likely have all season (snow rated, but not true snow tires).  Idaho Springs and Georgetown are you last chances for much lodging choice before hitting the tunnel.  Going up to the tunnel, keep an eye open for cars that have lost traction if it is really bad.  Exit the tunnel with only moderate speed as it is all downhill after that.

 

If Joel http://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado is correct, you will miss the worst of it and then have great conditions for Sunday

Saturday will be a warm and windy day, and I don't expect much precipitation to start before dark.

 

 

 

  • The cold front should roll through much of Colorado between about 5-8pm. When it does, the snowflake factory will start cranking and I expect 6-8 hours of heavy snow.Sunday morning should be delicious, and some light, fluffy flakes could continue to accumulate through about 10-11am. Get out there!
post #3 of 17

http://www.cotrip.org/  Should have all the information you need.

 

Exit kinda slow out of the westbound tunnel.  It can be icy coming out.  You can always speed up if needed.  Kinda hard to slow down quick if a semi is blocking the outer third lane.  The weather on the east side of the tunnel can be warm/sunny while Summit Co can be snowing/breezy/cold.   It's the opposite during an upslope.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

Going up to the tunnel, keep an eye open for cars that have lost traction if it is really bad.  

 

Yeah, the section between Georgetown and the tunnel is where things tend to get hairy. I think part of this is because the road is flatter and the terrain wider (no drop-offs or tight winding sections) so IMO people let down their guard -- BUT you are up in the higher altitude, so weather worsens and it gets really slick. This is always where you see people off the road. Just be aware and take it slow in there if conditions are sketchy.

 

Sounds like your timing will be fine, though. 

post #5 of 17

NOAA says the probability of snow jumps sharply at 11 am.  If you're driving around noon, the roads should still be OK.   Saturday night will be a huge blizzard, gods be willing. biggrin.gif

post #6 of 17

I70 is well maintained and a pretty easy drive in all but the worst conditions.  Just take it easy.  I have seen more vehicles (mostly SUVs) off that road than any other I've been on.  Main issue I have encountered is closure due to avalanche control - and the traffic on weekends of course.

post #7 of 17

 

I'll be doing that drive tomorrow early afternoon as well.

 

I've done this drive in heavy snow 3 times and it wasn't too bad, but you certainly have to pay attention.  It doesn't look like the wind will be an issue at the time you're traveling and that's good because very low visibility changes everything in any kind of weather (and for me ups the stress level more than anything else).

 

As others have said, watch the approach to the tunnel as well as the exit and it is all downhill to Dillon from there and it's easy to gain significant speed without really noticing.  

 

The good thing is that traffic westbound on 70 shouldn't be too heavy at that time on a Saturday.

post #8 of 17

I assume you just booked over the internet?

 

Call the Alamo where you will be picking up your car and ask them what car exactly you are getting and/or see if they can put in some special request to get you a more snow-prepared one (without any extra charge).

 


 

post #9 of 17

It is likely to be relatively ugly as the afternoon progresses given the wind forecast.  You should be fine with a 4x4.  Will your wife be fine if you are driving in a whiteout?

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Cheers for the advice, we'll just take it slowly and see where we end up (hopefully not in a ditch!). Hopefully the forecast holds true and the storm doesn't roll through till later in the day. The obvious upside is some snow, have been a bit depressed watching the forecasts since booking the trip...

post #11 of 17

one thing to remember too is once passed the tunnel, that I70 can be slick in the shadows even when plowed and treated.  I've driven a lot of bad roads but am always surprised how a few idiots can manage to speed along believing they can ride anything or falsely believe conditions don't change quickly.  least wise, last yr i saw 3 SUV's off the road between Silverthorn and Copper for what I suspect was either a misbelief in what the vehicle can handle or simply the shadows to sun (though overcast) made for quick differences in road surface.  noted most were either suvs or Subaru's ...

 

 

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, journey nice and uneventful in the end. Got upgraded on the flight (to United economy plus) and the rental (to a premium suv) so pretty good, think having a young baby helped us out in both cases. Surprisingly warm when we arrived although woke up to a reported 6" new snow and colder temps. Going to skip the crowds today and ski tomorrow, might have been different if there had been more snow but 6" looked a bit optimistic when I went out this morning and it looks pretty busy without the gondola running from river run this morning due to high winds.

post #13 of 17

Drive up the road to Copper, they got 9" or back over to LL- both will likely be less busy than KS

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lj269 View Post

Well, journey nice and uneventful in the end. Got upgraded on the flight (to United economy plus) and the rental (to a premium suv) so pretty good, think having a young baby helped us out in both cases. Surprisingly warm when we arrived although woke up to a reported 6" new snow and colder temps. Going to skip the crowds today and ski tomorrow, might have been different if there had been more snow but 6" looked a bit optimistic when I went out this morning and it looks pretty busy without the gondola running from river run this morning due to high winds.


You are going to lose your Epic membership with a post like that-

 

Drive up the road to Copper, they got 9" or back over to LL- both will likely be less busy than KS

 

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post


You are going to lose your Epic membership with a post like that-

 

Drive up the road to Copper, they got 9" or back over to LL- both will likely be less busy than KS

 



Hehe redface.gif With a 1 year old, wife and acclimatization to think of we decided to chill today, the last year has enforced other priorities on me :) We've also been having a good year in BC to date in comparison to CO so I don't feel too much like a drug addict with withdrawal symptoms ;)

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post


You are going to lose your Epic membership with a post like that-

 

Drive up the road to Copper, they got 9" or back over to LL- both will likely be less busy than KS

 



And surely you shouldn't have enough time today for posting on here !?! ;)

post #17 of 17

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lj269 View Post



Hehe redface.gif With a 1 year old, wife and acclimatization to think of we decided to chill today, the last year has enforced other priorities on me :) We've also been having a good year in BC to date in comparison to CO so I don't feel too much like a drug addict with withdrawal symptoms ;)



It is very high in CO, some people don't think of that...glad you are having a good year!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lj269 View Post



And surely you shouldn't have enough time today for posting on here !?! ;)


I have plenty of time- not back in CO until next month and 0 ski days this season as I take it slow after my 2nd ACL surgery.

 

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