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4wd Needed in Colorado???? - Page 2

post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
So then why is it that 75% of the people who live in the mountains of Colorado, including you, have 4WD vehicles?
What is good for the goose ain't necessarily good for the gander. Also, 75 percent of Jersey has 4WD trucks. So what? The OP is talking about going to resorts, not plowin' driveways or going up seasonal roads towing a sled.

Thirty years ago people were driving to these same ski resorts with crappier roads, crappier tires, crappier plows, and gigantic RWD open-diff sleds from Detroit. It shouldn't be that hard to do with any modern car, and if it is, it probably shouldn't be attempted by some flatlander who just rented some mediocre truck.

I'll try to contribute something of value to this thread now:
  • If it is going to snow, park uphill. Always have a downhill exit. Even if you get plowed in, it will be 10x easier getting out. You may have to look around a bit for this parking spot.
  • If you are having trouble ascending a steep drive with the FWD car, turn around and put it in reverse. You now have a taller and thus easier to use gear ratio, and more importantly you have a ton of weight over the drive wheels. Don't try this if you can't back a trailer, or in the presence of other cars.
  • ABS doesn't work at walking speed. If you find yourself sliding towards the side of the road or a driveway TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE BRAKE. You can then tap the pedal as necessary for speed control and your steering wheel will work again.
  • Travel slowly downhill, but don't use low gears in very slippery conditions. ABS or not, brakes will be more consistent and accurate when the engine is not loaded.
  • If you think you are losing control, remember to ease that kung-fu grip on the brakes and point the car at a snowbank. Trying to keep it on the road at this point will make things worse. If you make this decision early you are more likely to get away with only a bruised ego.
post #32 of 43
Just a couple of observations from personal experience -

- 4WD/AWD (especially 4WD) does complement deceleration/braking when using engine braking/downshifting. It becomes more complex depending on the transfer cases and traction control systems employed, but there is an advantage. Regardless, it will not replicate dry pavement stopping.

- With caution and experience a 2WD vehicle will navigate moderate snow, especially FWD.

- For the last 20+ years I've had a high-ground clearance 4WD or AWD vehicle for snow use and have never waited for plows before venturing out - CO and all points north and east. There have been a few 2.5 - 3.0ft dumps where car-height vehicles couldn't move until a path was cleared for them, but I was headed for ski country by then.

- More sipes and deeper tread = more snow traction. Works with less, but if you want to go....

A 4WD/AWD rental vehicle won't work miracles, but it will give you additional traction in difficult conditions/situations.


Short story... When I was 16 a group of us headed from GA to Beech Mtn NC to ski. On the way we ran into a nice snow storm - about 18" -20". The roads were powder/packed powder and I was having a grand old time sliding the rear of my '74 Monte Carlo (RWD) around the mountain roads. No incidents during the first two days of commuting around the area. On day three I gave the keys to my best friend, who needed to go back to the house for something he forgot. 2 hours later and nearly in tears, he had run all the way back to the lodge to apologize for running the vehicle off the road. Luckily a large boulder impaled the transmission and prevented the car from going down a 100' embankment with him in it. We had to stay a few extra days while the dealer ordered a new transmission to get us back on the road. Extra skiing so I couldn't complain too much!!

I had been racing small race cars since the age of 8 and driving vehicles on my uncle's ranch in CO when I was not much older, so I was pretty good at power sliding. But my GA-born buddy Matt learned an important lesson that day ... goosing a car around in the snow takes a little more finesse than just punching the gas and slamming on the brakes.

Happy skiing!
post #33 of 43
On my last trip to CO we had a couple of dumps and I was glad to have 4WD. Both for the extra ground clearance as well as the extra traction (handy getting out of the parking lots).
post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman View Post
...
I'll try to contribute something of value to this thread now:
  • If it is going to snow, park uphill. Always have a downhill exit. Even if you get plowed in, it will be 10x easier getting out. You may have to look around a bit for this parking spot.
  • If you are having trouble ascending a steep drive with the FWD car, turn around and put it in reverse. You now have a taller and thus easier to use gear ratio, and more importantly you have a ton of weight over the drive wheels. Don't try this if you can't back a trailer, or in the presence of other cars.
  • ABS doesn't work at walking speed. If you find yourself sliding towards the side of the road or a driveway TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE BRAKE. You can then tap the pedal as necessary for speed control and your steering wheel will work again.
  • Travel slowly downhill, but don't use low gears in very slippery conditions. ABS or not, brakes will be more consistent and accurate when the engine is not loaded.
  • If you think you are losing control, remember to ease that kung-fu grip on the brakes and point the car at a snowbank. Trying to keep it on the road at this point will make things worse. If you make this decision early you are more likely to get away with only a bruised ego.
Great points.

Also be prepared for a vehicle parked on an incline to slide - e-brake applied or not. If the surface under the snow is slick (especially black ice) the vehicle can slide. (Don't ask me how I know?) Engaging at least one tire against a raised feature will help prevent this if there is no alternative to parking on an incline.
post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
- 4WD/AWD (especially 4WD) does complement deceleration/braking when using engine braking/downshifting.
I'm not totally convinced of this, but IIRC you do this stuff for a living so I will hit up my books and try and figure out why this would be the case.

Love the story...good times.
Quote:
(Don't ask me how I know?)
My dad swears one time he got out of the Olds, slammed the door, and watched in horror as it slid sideways into the ditch. Had to walk home and bring irritated Grandpa out with a tractor.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingman View Post
I'm not totally convinced of this, but IIRC you do this stuff for a living so I will hit up my books and try and figure out why this would be the case.
It's a "feel" kind of thing. Drop it too low, too fast and you'll be doing 360s. However, add some balanced resistance at all 4 corners and it helps with deceleration (for me anyway). Anti-lock systems negate some of the value, but before anti-lock it helped greatly to have all fours holding back with relatively equal resistance. Basically a by-pass of the proportioning valve in the hydraulic system. I still find it helps to go lower first, then add braking if/when necessary.

Not a professional driver, but for years in the beginning of my career I drove 1,500miles/week throughout CO, the Dakotas, and the rest of the Mid-west, weather be damned. Now I look forward to a good Nor'easter.

Quote:
Love the story...good times.

My dad swears one time he got out of the Olds, slammed the door, and watched in horror as it slid sideways into the ditch. Had to walk home and bring irritated Grandpa out with a tractor.
I parked mine on a fairly steep paved "driveway" near a cabin. Went to bed and in the morning the car was 75 feet closer to the woods at the bottom of the drive. Got lucky - it stopped for some unknown reason. Thankfully Dad, nor Grandpa was around to witness - I would never have heard the end of it.
post #37 of 43

maybe maybe not

I was always a fan of the "Real Montanans Don't Need 4WD" bumper sticker. 4Wd comes in handy when stuck or going up unmaintained roads. But as I was always taught, Although it is harder to get into a spin in 4wd, it's much harder to drive back out of one when you do. Anymore though the cars they make with the traction control pretty much do the driving for you. I would go with either, but don't think because you have 4Wd you can drive as fast as you want, this is what will get you. And don't think you can't get to the ski hill without 4wd either, many vintage volkswagen buses in any ski area parking lots will prove this theory wrong. It's not a bad idea, if you are worried about driving in snow and ice, to rent the same vehicle you have, at least you know how it handles.
post #38 of 43
Having that extra bit of traction makes a very big difference getting up icy hills. In slippery conditions it is safer because you don't mind slowing down for corners when you know you have an up-hill section coming up, as opposed to having the one-wheel drive car where you go as fast as you can around that icy corner so you will have the momentum to get up the hill. Just remember to keep checking every now and then to see how much traction you have to stop; because they go so well, you might not realize how slippery it is.
post #39 of 43
if you are coming to summit and its snowing real bad or real good whatever your frame of reference then consider your self real lucky regardless of what you're driving

take it easy don't get excited choose the slow lane and stay there unless you really really have to pass and you'll wake up the next morning happy that you made it as you're cutting the fresh in the early morning fluff
post #40 of 43
I've been able to get a free upgrade to a 4wd miniSUV each time I've rented in Denver. They're always low mileage, so the all-season tires have excellent tread. One advantage of 4wd is that the needed power is divided by 4 instead of by 2...if, say, 40 hp is needed to get started uphill from a stop light, instead of each tire needing to handle 20 hp, with 4wd each tire only handles 10 hp so they're less likely to break their grip. 4wd can be a real help in a frozen rutted parking lot or getting going from a traffic stop.

Be prepared for the drivers on I-70 driving like they're in L.A. on a sunny day and late to get somewhere. There's been a crash on the road about half the times I've been there. I've never seen a speeder pulled over for a ticket.

Notice the signs on the road telling the truckers that the road is actually downhill. NOTICE THESE SIGNS. Keep your downhill speed under control. If there's an icy patch, it's too late to slow.

I'm in agreement with some of the posters above about the importance of snow tires on personal vehicles. Maybe all-season tires are usually OK, but real winter tires give one the extra edge to maybe avoid some fool that's about to crash into them--or safely brake when that flatlander stops in the road at the bottom of a steep hill.
post #41 of 43
i run dedicated snows nokian rsi are very good

i also run nokian wr the rest of the year because they're a great all season with an aggro winter rating for ice and hard pack

i don't mess around with getting around because when there's snow its all business getting to the goods and i'm real serious about that kinda stuff so is mrs enick she rips bumps with enick all day long and i love her almost as much as i love my nokians - ha jus kidding mrs enick is the best
post #42 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
So then why is it that 75% of the people who live in the mountains of Colorado, including you, have 4WD vehicles?
I have a 4wd for offroading. I drive a 2wd sedan to the ski area every weekend.

75% of the people who have 4wd vehicles have never put them in 4wd. It is amazing to me to see the number of 4x4's in places like Denver that have never seen a dirt road, let alone an off-road trail.

BTW, my 4x4 is a Jeep Wrangler, which I would say is not a great snow car, unless it is chained up on all 4. Same goes for almost all 4x4s.

Mike
post #43 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
BTW, my 4x4 is a Jeep Wrangler, which I would say is not a great snow car, unless it is chained up on all 4. Same goes for almost all 4x4s.

Mike
Yeah. I've driven a Wrangler with 30x9.5 AT tires on it quite a bit in the winter. Tons of fun screwing around, not the hot ticket for cruising slushy roads without white knuckles.
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