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Driving from Frisco Colorado to Salt Lake City in mid February

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am considering splitting my annual visit to the Rockies into two with ten days or so in and around Summit County in Colorado then driving to Salt Lake City for the balance of my time. This would be in February.I would have a rental car most likely a compact something like a Toyota Corolla which will be a 2 wd and most likely on summer tyres. 

 

I have some experience with driving on snow covered roads in Scotland so some snow does not bother me. 

 

Google maps suggests that I should take I 70 to Green River then turn on to the 191 to Salt Lake City. Is this the best route and will there be any high mountain passes to worry about.

 

Mr Google says 7 hours but I guess that is in summer. 

 

I am an old fart so might plan to break my journey and take two days anyway. 

 

Is it the best route.

 

Do they ever have to close this road for bad weather if so for how ling. 

 

What about tyre chains?

post #2 of 18

US191 and US6 peak at Soldier Summit, around 7500'. If there's a storm going through, there will be snow. But this is a pretty well-traveled route that is plowed pretty frequently. Unless there's a big storm, it should stay open, likely with chain restrictions.

 

I recommend looking at the weather forecast before you leave. If it looks like there's a decent chance of snow, buy chains: they're not very expensive and can definitely save the day. If possible, leave some flexibility in your schedule just in case a huge storm comes through.

post #3 of 18

If  there is a storm, stay on I-70 until you hit I-15. A couple of hours more, if that. Unlikley to need chains and not reccomended for a rental since you would be liable for any damage caused by them.

post #4 of 18
I have rolled through US6 191 to get to Aspen during a storm, visibility at night was low due to blowing snow in the canyon between Spainish Fork and Price making it hard to see the curves on the road.

This was 4WD with snows on

So if it's snowing the I-15 route is better unless you tend to drive in white out conditions on a regular basis

But if it snowing that much I would ski instead
post #5 of 18
Soldier Summits usually not that bad. Pick your day and watch for cops in Spanish Fork, especially if you have CO produce.
post #6 of 18
You'll need good winter tires or chains just to get to Frisco if it's snowy when you arrive. That's unless you shuttle to the mountains and rent a car there.

Several years ago, I was driving Frisco to Aspen for a PSIA event, cruising along in glorious sunshine in our Audi S8 with four studded snow tires when we came upon several cars and trucks in the median. When I started to ease onto the brakes, I discovered we were traveling on an invisible sheet of ice.

If you have minimal winter driving experience, you need the best equipment you can get. A two-wheel-drive compact with summer tires is not it.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the advice. I will check the forecast and only leave if there are no storms forecast, I mean how bad can it be if I have to ski Breck or Abasin for another day or too.

 

Re the 2 WD car it should be OK providing it is FWD but I will buy chains if I have to. Been OK without in 7 years of 3 week visits to ski.

 

Re my driving experience on snow I grew up and learned to drive on the East Coast of Scotland so I have a fair bit of snow and ice experience.

 

So it is I 70 to Green River and make a decision on the 191 or continuing to I 5 based on conditions. If it looks like I need chains I will most likely hole up til the need goes away. Finally I will be alert for smokies in Spanish Forks. 

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 

Thank you for the advice. I will check the forecast and only leave if there are no storms forecast, I mean how bad can it be if I have to ski Breck or Abasin for another day or too.

 

Re the 2 WD car it should be OK providing it is FWD but I will buy chains if I have to. Been OK without in 7 years of 3 week visits to ski.

 

Re my driving experience on snow I grew up and learned to drive on the East Coast of Scotland so I have a fair bit of snow and ice experience.

 

 

That's a fair plan.    Don't forget this is drier snow that doesn't squish out from under the rubber but acts more like fine grain sand;  icing is a worry on secondary roads but wind is an issue everywhere, both as a crosswind and as creating unpredictable drifts.    

Tread depth is your very good friend. 

post #9 of 18

Rental cars with anything other than OEM tires,  are extremely rare.  Rental agencies are pushing the life cycle. Hertz used to average of 10 months, but it's increased to 2 years. 

Cheaper companies keep them even longer and I wouldn't count on them putting any money into them.  

When I get in, I check the OD and then I check the tires.  I also walk around it with my cell camera and note any damage.

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
  I also walk around it with my cell camera and note any damage.

 

Good move. I haven't had major issues myself, but I know of a few horror stories (Budget at Vancouver APT is notorious for being bad actors), and it never hurts, if you see ANYTHING on the car to note it.

post #11 of 18

No one has mentioned it yet so I'll risk stating the obvious: you have to go over Vail pass to leave Summit county.  This typically isn't a problem but in bad weather can be.

 

That said, I think you're plan is fine.  I've done about100 trips to Colorado over the years, all in FWD rental cars and I've never had to put chains on.  Use caution if it's snowy and check road conditions online and you'll be fine.  There is always a slight risk of road closure but it's rare.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View PostSo it is I 70 to Green River and make a decision on the 191 or continuing to I 5 based on conditions. If it looks like I need chains I will most likely hole up til the need goes away. Finally I will be alert for smokies in Spanish Forks. 

 

Sounds like a really good plan.  At last check near the end of the winter, and if I remember correctly, there were ~146 varying degrees of "winter traction alerts" put in place.  They never said how many actual violations were issued.  Some seem to believe that as long as you are not stuck or the cause of an accident or backup you are ok.  If you are then get the wallet ready.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 

 

Sounds like a really good plan.  At last check near the end of the winter, and if I remember correctly, there were ~146 varying degrees of "winter traction alerts" put in place.  They never said how many actual violations were issued.  Some seem to believe that as long as you are not stuck or the cause of an accident or backup you are ok.  If you are then get the wallet ready.

Doesn't that 146 count include CMV chain restrictions (only for trucks)?  Don't know where you can look up those stats but it would be interesting to count number of:

a. 4x4/chain requirements for cars

b. actual closures

c. actual closures longer than 3 hours

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

Doesn't that 146 count include CMV chain restrictions (only for trucks)?  Don't know where you can look up those stats but it would be interesting to count number of:

a. 4x4/chain requirements for cars

b. actual closures

c. actual closures longer than 3 hours

 

I believe it did include all restrictions.  I will look for the link.  I found it before only because I believe someone on here was asking if there was a place that gave the total number of violations issued for not having the m+s , all season, snow, ice, traction devices. etc.  I never found that info.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 

Thank you for the advice. I will check the forecast and only leave if there are no storms forecast, I mean how bad can it be if I have to ski Breck or Abasin for another day or too...

 

If Vail pass is clear but there's a storm rolling in, it might be worth heading west and making the call at Grand Junction whether to continue on. Lodging's more affordable, and Powderhorn has a reputation for being very uncrowded (as well as inexpensive). And cutting the drive in half like that means the second part is a comfortable day trip even if you end up staying on the interstates.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

 

If Vail pass is clear but there's a storm rolling in, it might be worth heading west and making the call at Grand Junction whether to continue on. Lodging's more affordable, and Powderhorn has a reputation for being very uncrowded (as well as inexpensive). And cutting the drive in half like that means the second part is a comfortable day trip even if you end up staying on the interstates.

 

Thank you for the suggestion. Powderhorn would be new to me and there is a Motel 6 in Grand Junction which is all I would need.

 

Hmm Slopeside is affordable though.  

 

However it does look to be a fair way off the I 70

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
 

 

Thank you for the suggestion. Powderhorn would be new to me and there is a Motel 6 in Grand Junction which is all I would need.

 

Hmm Slopeside is affordable though.  

 

However it does look to be a fair way off the I 70


 Only about 20 miles.

post #18 of 18
If you rent a Kia or Hyundai out of DIA you've got a decent shot of getting some Hankook M+S rubber. Standard rental car caveat applies - pick from the row based on tire quality- take it to a snowy lot nearby and Ken Block it. Take it back if the rubber sucks. If you rent 2wd spring for some cables for emergencies. Do not drive like an ass.
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