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Driving from Park City to Alta and Snowbasin: 4x4?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

How worried should I be about snow headed down to Little Cottonwood Canyon, or headed up to Snowbasin?  My group of 10 is staying in Park City the first week in March, and we plan to ski several days of our week at Alta and Snowbasin.  Not sure how to plan my rental vehicle(s).  I found a 15-passenger van in which they remove the last seat allowing seating for 11 and a large cargo hold.  That's tempting but not sure if it'd be a better move to just get two 5-passenger standard SUV 4x4's?

 

Aaron

Wilmington, DE

post #2 of 12

Assuming the price difference is minimal or not an issue regardless then I recommend a 4WD vehicle or vehicles.  Small advantage to two vehicles is in the unlikely event someone gets stuck or has another issue there's another vehicle to help or get help (although with cell phones probably not much of an issue).

 

You'll obviously use more fuel with two vehicles but good parking is free at both Alta and Snowbasin.  Regardless of number of vehicles you'll need a ski rack for sure.

post #3 of 12

If you plan to do that much driving, I'd go with a 4 x 4. The last thing I'd want to be driving in the middle of winter is a monster 2wd van.

 

The drive to Snowbasin isn't bad at all - mostly flat interstate highway with a bit of climbing on a major county highway. Park City to Alta is definitely worse, though. I-80 is pretty steep coming down Parley's and then you have to drive up LCC, which may have chain/4x4 restrictions. Heavy snow is always a possibility (and kind of the point : ).

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post

If you plan to do that much driving, I'd go with a 4 x 4. The last thing I'd want to be driving in the middle of winter is a monster 2wd van.

 

The drive to Snowbasin isn't bad at all - mostly flat interstate highway with a bit of climbing on a major county highway. Park City to Alta is definitely worse, though. I-80 is pretty steep coming down Parley's and then you have to drive up LCC, which may have chain/4x4 restrictions. Heavy snow is always a possibility (and kind of the point : ).

Yeah, driving a monster 2wd (rwd, at that) with 10 people loaded in....  The more I've been thinking about it since asking the more I'm thinkiing not...   Be nice to all travel together but...  

 

I've been plunking away on google looking for an outfit that rents those 4wd-conversion vans, but haven't found anything but the 2wd version.  

post #5 of 12
Get the SUVs. It can get really snowy here, that's the plan. Ever put on chains in a blizzard? Split ten ways, The savings from airport transfer charges alone should pay most of it.
post #6 of 12

Ditto:  Plus 15 passenger vans are extremely dangerous, especially if you don't know how to drive one.  Lot's of university's are banning there use for sports teams.

post #7 of 12
Reserve a 4WD and if the weather looks like things will be clear for the week, change your reservation to the van. A couple of inches of snow won't matter, but a lot of snow will. Either way, check for better prices right before you go. I've found booking early doesn't always give you the best price.
post #8 of 12

There may be a rule that you vehicle must have snow tires to get up the canyon road to alta.   I don't know if 4wd is mandatory.

 

Either way I'd want to be sure.   We were not stopped in our 4wd suv, but we were worried as we only had all-season tires.  A flashing signed said that snow tires were mandatory.  

 

I'm somewhat new to Utah travel, so I'm not sure of the driving restrictions.  Anyone know?

post #9 of 12

The rule is 4x4 or chains.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post

Ever put on chains in a blizzard?

 

This. 

 

I did the drive from PC to Alta last winter in a rented PT Cruiser.  It was snowing to beat the band and I got stuck on I-80.  I'd never put the chains on before and couldn't figure it out.  Dumb, dumb.  Fortunately, just as a group of plow trucks came through a DOT worker helped push me onto a newly plowed and salted track and I was able to go.  Barely. 

 

Sounds like you're on the right track... Get the 4x4s.

post #11 of 12

Here are the offical rules for the Cottonwood Canyons

 

http://updsl.org/services/canyon_restrictions

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post

Here are the offical rules for the Cottonwood Canyons

 

http://updsl.org/services/canyon_restrictions

 

Just to be clear, snowtires (as defined by UDOT) includes any tire with a M/S designation, most all-season tires are "snowtires" by this standard. These local laws prescribe a minimum level of preparedness. 

 

In addition to the above restrictions, there are also times during big snow events where additional restrictions or road closures may be imposed. 

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