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Driving from SLC to Jackson Hole in February

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm planning on hitting Alta/SB and Jackson Hole the last week(ish) of February to make the most of my Mountain Collective.  I'll probably do nine or so days total and, if I can swing it, not miss a day of skiing due to the drive.

 

How is the drive?  Is it doable in a 2WD rental?  Am I better off just flying from SLC to Jackson?  Alternately, anywhere I should hit up in between?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by onnel View Post
 

I'm planning on hitting Alta/SB and Jackson Hole the last week(ish) of February to make the most of my Mountain Collective.  I'll probably do nine or so days total and, if I can swing it, not miss a day of skiing due to the drive.

 

How is the drive?  Is it doable in a 2WD rental?  Am I better off just flying from SLC to Jackson?  Alternately, anywhere I should hit up in between?

 

Thanks!


No good way to answer this unless you can predict the future (weather).  It's an easy 4.5-hour drive until the weather gets bad.

 

Most of the time, 2wd is just fine.  When it snows all the way from SLC to JAC, the drive will suck if you have 4wd and will REALLY suck if you have 2wd.

 

My wife and/or I have driven that stretch dozens and dozens of times.  Almost always, 2wd would be just fine.  Occasionally, even 4wd makes  it just barely tolerable.

 

I realize this is telling you nothing, but there is just no way to tell until you start the drive.  

 

Sorry.

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by onnel View Post
 

I'm planning on hitting Alta/SB and Jackson Hole the last week(ish) of February to make the most of my Mountain Collective.  I'll probably do nine or so days total and, if I can swing it, not miss a day of skiing due to the drive.

 

How is the drive?  Is it doable in a 2WD rental?  Am I better off just flying from SLC to Jackson?  Alternately, anywhere I should hit up in between?

 

Thanks!


Better to reserve a AWD.  Did the drive in a friend's AWD when it wasn't snowing a couple years ago.  Not a bad drive in those conditions.

 

Snowbasin is more or less on the way, but obviously much closer to SLC.  Sun Valley is also on the MCP but not exactly on the way.  Have you been to Grand Targhee?  I'm meeting up with a couple friends in SLC before the Aspen Gathering.  We'll drive to SV or JH to get in a couple of ski days on the MCP.  Direction will depend on the weather.  Personally, I find short hops a pain, especially with skis.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I think I'll spend the money to have an AWD just in case.  I'm ok with hairy driving, but no reason to make it any worse has it has to be.  I assume the roads aren't usually totally closed?

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by onnel View Post
 

I think I'll spend the money to have an AWD just in case.  I'm ok with hairy driving, but no reason to make it any worse has it has to be.  I assume the roads aren't usually totally closed?


There is several different ways to get from SLC to Jackson.  So do have options if there are weather issues.

 

Even though it hadn't snowed for three weeks at JH when I went and we drove on blue sky days, there was still a little snow on the road going thru the passes.  Mostly in shady areas.  It was in late Jan.

post #6 of 8
There is an excellent discussion of teh different routes in this post and the next ten or so:
http://www.epicski.com/t/128816/the-2015-epicski-gathering-at-jackson-hole/120#post_1840200

We skied all day at Alta and then drove to JH that night. I haven't gone back to figure out which route we took, but the roads were fine most of the way. There were a few stretches that were driving on snow, but fairly wide and flat.
What was bad, though, was the fog. Our route went by a lake and we had the thickest fog Ihave ever seen in my life. That part was tense and tiring.
post #7 of 8

Done the I-80 to US-89 N route from the bird to JH couple twice couple years ago. Pretty straight forward uneventful drive - no big storms.

 

Watch out for the local revenue collectors at Afton. They are out there 24/7. Found them wandering around even sat 2 am. They run instant on radars units on moving cruisers. No warm up required. They can hit you in a head on scenario with both vehicles moving without warning. A radar detector will not save you, especially on an deserted highway in the middle of the night. :eek   

post #8 of 8

This is the post from the JH Gathering thread that I remember the most.  Had seen TPJ mention Soda Springs in earlier threads. When my friends and I left JH, we were headed to Snowbasin.  Decided to take US191 to US189 to I-80 south of Kemmerer.  20 miles longer than US89 but fewer traffic lights, no mountain driving at all, relatively high speed all the way means pretty much the same driving time.  Found a really neat grill for lunch in the middle of nowhere but I don't remember the name.  We went thru Soda Springs on the way to JH.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdskier View Post
 

LONG

Analysis of 6 routes from SLC/Ogden to Jackson WY::deadhorse:

 

summary -I've driven 5 or maybe all of these years ago (relatives in Logan UT)

so pays your money and take your choice ! (all are 4hr 45 min give or take 20 min)

 

1.) SLC. I-15. into ID. Rt on rt 30 (thru Soda Springs ID).then 34 & 89   279 mi 4hr 28 min -G map's route

 

2.) SLC. I-80/84 E to Evanston WY. N in/out UT/WY (via Afton WY-only town) on wy89/16/30/us89  (bit confusing)

         275 mi 4hr 43 min  no traffic no mt passes.  (likely less time)   My choice. (use good map or GPS)

 

3.) SLC I-15 to Idaho Falls. Rt on 26/31 (over Teton Pass) 302 mi 4hr 33 min    NO Good in bad weather/snow

 

4.) SLC I-15 past Idaho Falls . Rt on 33 (past G Targee & over Teton Pass) 327 mi 5hr 3min

          NO Good in bad weather/snow

 

5.) SLC I-15. to Idaho Falls. Rt on26 (past Palisades Reservoir) then Lt on 89  321 mi 4hr 50min.  deer for 100 mi!

 

6.) SLC I-15 to Brigham City UT. Rt on us89  (Logan & thru Logan Cyn.) to Jackson. 269mi 5hr 7 min 

           likely to lose a lot of time in logan/cyn area. I'd not do this one.

 

7.) hire a helicopter !

 

Above at own risk -can't guarantee anything. Mileages vary a bit  in Google

 

The fastest way is through Soda Springs.  It can get bad going through Tin Cup Pass and in the gorge near Freedom Wy.  This is the way that I go almost 100% of the time.  The route through Evanston is only slightly longer and is a bit easier in bad weather.  It's also faster if you are going to Park City rather than LCC.  There is some misleading signage that will steer you the long way around Bear Lake.  I think it was designed by the Bear Lake Camber of Commerce.  If the weather was really bad I "might" go rt 15 and over Teton Pass.  I am an experienced Pass Driver and "might" choose to take the short intense hits on Pine Creek Pass and Teton Pass in exchange for smooth sailing on the bulk of the trip on rt 15.  I wouldn't go around the Palisades.  That route is longer and the road will be sketchy in bad weather, you will still be faced with the Snake River Canyon after the Palisades.

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