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I-70 Through Colorado

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've got to drive from San Diego to Boston on December 18th. What's the I-70 like in the winter? Could I make it through the rockies with my 98 Nissan (Front wheel drive 125,000 miles) or should I bypass and head south on the 40.

Unfortunately I won't be able to ski because all I packed for the 6 months in San Diego was bathing suits so take that out of the equation.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 20
They do a pretty good job keeping the roads clear during storms. Unless a really big/heavy storm comes through, you should be more than fine. You may want to buy some chains to carry with you just to be safe though.
post #3 of 20
depending on the weather, I40 is not always a safe bet. I've driven through massive ice storms for the 200 miles around Amarillo that time of year, the Sandia Crest near Albuquerque can be a problem, as can the area around Flagstaff.
post #4 of 20
CDOT generally does a really good job with I70. Unless it is dumping while you are going over the passes, you should be fine with front-wheel drive. Just check the weather before you leave so you know what to expect. Of course, last year Dec 18th was day one of a 3 foot blizzard.

Here is a link to CDOT - http://www.cotrip.org/
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
depending on the weather, I40 is not always a safe bet. I've driven through massive ice storms for the 200 miles around Amarillo that time of year, the Sandia Crest near Albuquerque can be a problem, as can the area around Flagstaff.
I guess I could just drive through Utah....I hear it never snows there.
post #6 of 20
Also, when you're in CO, you can dial 511 to get up to date road conditions.
post #7 of 20
CDOT usually does a fantastic job with the roads. Blizzards do happen sometimes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you comfortable driving in the mountains?

Do you have adequate tread on your tires?

Did I change the washer fluid from summer weight to winter weight? It will freeze as I've sometimes forgotten

Do I have newer windshield washer blades?

Do I have a warm blanket and extra food? I've been stranded in ground blizzards on the wide open plains before and glad I had them.

Is my battery extremely old?

Do I like beautiful mountain winter scenery?

Is now the time to see the Glenwood Springs hot springs pool and Glenwood Canyon?

You should do fine.
post #8 of 20
If you drive a route that takes you through winter weather consider what happens if you break down. What clothing, gear, and other supplies do you need to survive while waiting for help to arrive.
post #9 of 20
I'd be more worried about driving through eastern Colorado and Kansas in the winter than the mountains. Mountain storms rarely get as nasty as a prairie blizzard.
post #10 of 20
I'll be driving east on 70 to Dillon on Sunday, and it is supposed to dump! Bought chains today.
post #11 of 20
I bought a set of chains in 1992. I've carried them around some winters but have never used them. They do bring peace of mind.

I got stuck in the parking lot at Loveland Valley once just because I was trying to stretch a little more mileage outta the tires. Didn't help that I parked on the enormous frozen water puddle facing downhill either. Bought a new set of M+S the next day.

Prairie ground blizzards - 4WD doesn't help if you can't see the road. They generally close the roads if this happens. Hotels fill up fast.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonSki View Post
Unfortunately I won't be able to ski because all I packed for the 6 months in San Diego was bathing suits so take that out of the equation.
There are many places to rent gear, ya know.

Mike
post #13 of 20
I-70 is more interesting. I-40 you won't worry about traffic issues as much. Either way I second the notion that Kansas/eastern CO could end up being sketchier than the trip through the mountains. I've had to stop and wait out storms in the summer in eastern CO.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
I-70 is more interesting. I-40 you won't worry about traffic issues as much. Either way I second the notion that Kansas/eastern CO could end up being sketchier than the trip through the mountains. I've had to stop and wait out storms in the summer in eastern CO.
Totally agree here, specially about East of the Rockies. Although, in the end it's all about timing, You could end up just cruising right through.
post #15 of 20
They clear 70 great (better than 40). Go that route and drive safely.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
There are many places to rent gear, ya know.

Mike
I have to jump on this too. If you don't have time or zero money, that's one thing, but otherwise how about hitting a Goodwill or Salvation Army place in San Diego for an old jacket and a couple pairs of sweat pants?? I bet if you put out a call here you might even be able to borrow something from the attic of a Bear. If you're driving through CO on I70 you will literally be a stones throw from Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mtn, Loveland. And there are several other ski areas within 5-10 miles of I70. The week before Christmas is also a good time for small crowds, possible ticket deals, and improving snow conditions.
post #17 of 20
I don't know about other ski areas, but at Eldora (just west of Boulder) you can rent parkas and bibs, as well as ski eqpt.

Oh, btw, making a winter traverse of the Rockies without any winter gear is literally taking your life in your hands.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
Oh, btw, making a winter traverse of the Rockies without any winter gear is literally taking your life in your hands.
West Jersey has eleventy million people on I-70 24 hours a day. It is going to be at least as safe/reliable as the more southern route, which turns into a serious clusterfizzle when it snows half an inch. I'm sure the OP has enough clothes to wear in the car, or in the couple minute wait for a trucker to pick him up if things go bad.

And yeah, I've broken a car in winter in western Nebraska on I-80...and I've broken a car on I-70 50 miles east of Grand Junction in early spring at 3am. Oh, and one on I-40 in January as well. I have some experience with this crap, I-70 through Colorado is much less scary than the section west of Green River in Utah where there is zero fuel for 110 miles....yet even there you'll find a 24/7 stream of truckers.

Not a big deal. Follow daysailer's advice, except you can quite safely forgo chains, and you'll have a grand time.
post #19 of 20
If you are not going to ski when you drive through CO? Don't post about it on a ski forum!!!

BTW I think you are more likley to run into unpassable road conditions in December east of the rockies.
post #20 of 20
Two words:

RENT GEAR
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