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Catching a flight from Denver on Sunday night, I-70 drive time?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We'll be skiing at Breckenridge on Sunday and have to catch a 6:51pm flight out that night. I've been lucky enough to never have to deal with the I-70 weekend traffic, ususally planning my trips around it, but this being a short trip there was no way of avoiding it if we wanted to get an extra day in. What degree of nightmare should I prepare for and any guesses on what time we should aim to be on the road?

Thanks
Chris
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBowers View Post
We'll be skiing at Breckenridge on Sunday and have to catch a 6:51pm flight out that night. I've been lucky enough to never have to deal with the I-70 weekend traffic, ususally planning my trips around it, but this being a short trip there was no way of avoiding it if we wanted to get an extra day in. What degree of nightmare should I prepare for and any guesses on what time we should aim to be on the road?

Thanks
Chris
I would leave by 1:30.

Last Sunday it took my parents almost 4 hr to get from Copper to their home in Centennial, leaving at 2:30. Leaving after 2 is dangerous.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've heard Hoosier Pass can be an alternative but I've never gone that way?
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBowers View Post
I've heard Hoosier Pass can be an alternative but I've never gone that way?
Yes, and I've done that before. But if I70 is slow because of weather, you can really get into it that way, too. You're on a lot of two-lane highway on that route.

On a clear day that is heavy due to volume, I'd try it. But otherwise, not sure. Others who take it more often should chime in (I don't go to Breck that much anymore, so I'm no expert.)
post #5 of 12
I'll second that recommendation and push it up a half hour. Leave by 1pm and you won't have to sweat it at all.
post #6 of 12
I'm not a big Eldora fan or anything but I would consider checking that out on Sunday. You could ski till 4 and still make your flight-no I-70. Not a truly epic mountain, but I would ski there over breck on a Sunday anyways. Skiing at breck I would leave the parking lot by 1:30 or 2:00.
post #7 of 12
Yeah, I'll chime in with the leave-by-1:30 crowd. It could be, you'll have way too much extra time at the airport. Or it could be you'll need every minute. In addition to the often-long drive times, the general security lines at Denver have been pretty long lately.

If you have status that lets you use the First/Elite/Premium security lines, that's still been taking about 5-15 minutes from entering the line to clearing the screening. The general lines have looked like a good half-hour to me the last couple of weeks. Those Sunday evening flights are rather popular so I'd expect a crowd.
post #8 of 12
Even 1:30 can be cutting it close. If you don't have tickets purchased, perhaps consider skiing at Loveland on Sunday. You will get a jump on the traffic and a few more runs in.
post #9 of 12
i second the loveland on sunday option. seems to be after you get by the tunnel it moves somes, not fast; but some.
and i've done the same with CME, they leeave breck at 2:30 for a flight at 7 with no stops at a rental counter.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes unfortunately we've already gotten tickets. We did the 3 day pass and we were planning on skiing Breckenridge the last day cause we will be staying with a friend who lives right by the gondola and that should afford us the most time on the slopes given a shorter ski day. I'm thinking if the weather is clear, if we're on the road by 2 at the latest and take Hoosier Pass (2.5hrs to Denver from what I hear), even it it takes us 3-3.5hrs that should still leave us an hour and a half or more to catch our flight. Maybe I'm being too much of an optimist?
post #11 of 12
Last week we made the same trip after three days with a few inches of snow each day and cold weather. It took us three hours for the drive and we allowed another 90 minutes to return the rental car and catch the plane. Everything worked on schedule. Most of the time lost was climbing out of Vail over the pass at 15 mph. I know sometimes you can get to Dillon OK and spend and hour going through the tunnel.
I wanted to ski another 30-45 minutes and it would probably have caused us to miss the flight. There's no safe way to hurry on I-70 in the winter.
Everyone that we talked with reminded us it could take 6 hours if an accident closed the road and if you really needed to be that certain of getting home you shouldn't try and ski and fly the same day.
post #12 of 12
OK, it's still Breck because you have the tickets. Mentally prepare yourself that you're skiing a HALF day on Sunday. Load up the car 100% early in the morning, so there's no reason to go back in. Get up early, head up the gondola as soon as it starts turning, and be on the first chair up the Rocky or Colorado Superquads.

Be back down at the Peak 8 base by noon, 12:30 at the latest. Download and drive.

There are too many things that can go wrong, as many of us have already posted. Maybe the roads are clear and fast. Yes, you might be back at the rental car return lot in an hour and 45 minutes (but that's darn unlikely on a winter Sunday afternoon.) You might immediately get the rental car shuttle. The shuttle might have no problem finding a space at the curb to unload. The check-in/luggage drop lines might be quick, but that's pretty rare. The security lines might be 5 minutes instead of the 30 minutes (or occasionally longer).

Or any one of those things could cause cascading delays and you blow your flight. Loads on the airlines are real high this year - I fly out of DEN every other week and I can't remember the last time I even saw an empty middle seat, never mind having one next to me. If you miss your flight, it may be a while before the airline can find you space home. Airport hotels and meals will be on your dime.

Some info and I might be able to check loads and options:
  1. What airline are you flying?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. Do you have any elite status on that airline (or its partners)?
  4. How important is it to you to get back on that flight?

If you've got status on the airline so priority on rebooking over the hordes of people waiting in the customer service line or on hold with 1-800-INDIA, if your airline has lots of flights, with open space on them, maybe you're ok. Post (or PM me) with the info and I can check some of the loads for later flights (or you can do it at seatcounter.com and some other sites).

Remember - if you miss your flight due to your fault (as in any of the above possible problems), or it's canceled due to weather anywhere in the airline's system, they owe you nothing. No meal vouchers, no hotel vouchers, no priority over passengers confirmed on the next flight, no right to be transferred to another airline. See bonni's thread a few months ago about her trip to Spokane.: A few extra runs at Breck could cost you a lot.
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