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Mountain driving - Page 2

post #31 of 58
I do agree that the stakes are much higher in the western states, in the East, if you slide off the road, you go in a ditch. If you go off the road say on Loveland Pass, it could be much worse.

However the closure I'm referring to was on a flat piece of Interstate in Denver... I guess if the state operates one way, it applies to the whole state.

I have noticed that other western states are not as over protective as Colorado, Utah for example.

I bet a ride with any plower would be interesting in one way or another...
post #32 of 58
Picture worth a thousand words: http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/05nov/images/bank10.jpg
While Route 40 is a good road, Berthoud Pass to Winter Park ain't no joke. Very fact that OP has asked this question tells me that taking the shuttle is best choice, especially if staying slopeside or next to resort bus line.
post #33 of 58

shuttle

Vicky24:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpy View Post
(I mean drivers in Colorado not just people from Colorado). THEY SUCK AT DRIVING IN SNOW.
...not alter their driving for snowy conditions. ...it's kind of scary.
Echo Dumpy's comment. It is not your own driving you need to be concerned about, but everyone else's.

Srsly.

I recommend the shuttle.
post #34 of 58
Thread Starter 
Seriously...what is a girl to do????

I guess only I can make the decision.
post #35 of 58
Thread Starter 
As long as I get to I don't suppose it is that critical!!
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by dumpy View Post
I do agree that the stakes are much higher in the western states, in the East, if you slide off the road, you go in a ditch. If you go off the road say on Loveland Pass, it could be much worse.

However the closure I'm referring to was on a flat piece of Interstate in Denver... I guess if the state operates one way, it applies to the whole state.

I have noticed that other western states are not as over protective as Colorado, Utah for example.

I bet a ride with any plower would be interesting in one way or another...

In California they (used to anyway, probably still do...I haven't lived or skied there since '83) Stop cars at mountain passes and make you put on chains if you want to continue. Not just in the Sierras either, they had the same policy in the SoCal mountains.

I believe Utah does close down the road up Little Cottonwood Canyon on occasion.


Oh, there are places in the east where to slide off is to die, just not so many.
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

Oh, there are places in the east where to slide off is to die, just not so many.
Dixville Notch comes to mind
post #38 of 58
Over the years, I've driven the Rocky Mountains, including Berthoud Pass, in snowstorms in plain-jane RWD 60's sedans, a grossly overpowered hot rod Chevelle, a 4WD SUV from the 70's, a RWD Suburban and several FWD sedans.

The SUV was the best, but I didn't drive it with an "I'm a truck, I'm invincible" mindset. I drove it knowing that 4WD is the most efficient way to get stuck in a harder place to get out of.

A 2WD Suburban is just plain freaky on slippery surfaces, and that's if you're careful. A 12/15-passenger Ford shuttle van will be on a chassis not much different than that. I don't know if the shuttle services use the smaller, FWD vans. Having said that, some people would be better off riding a big Ford 2WD van with a professional driver than trying to do it themselves in a rental.

Renting a Subaru would be the best way to get AWD without sliding into the "I'm a truck" mindset that could come about if you rented a Tahoe. The Subie is small enough that you realize you're not bulletproof.

The Chevelle was, like,
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
In California they (used to anyway, probably still do...I haven't lived or skied there since '83) Stop cars at mountain passes and make you put on chains if you want to continue. Not just in the Sierras either, they had the same policy in the SoCal mountains.
Chain controls exist in some states (including Colorado), California's are definitely the silliest. Many roads in the west are periodically closed for avalanche control work...a non-issue in the east. LCC is perhaps the best known of those roads.

Slides do occasionally close I-70, and I believe traffic is stopped to do control work as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicky24
As long as I get to I don't suppose it is that critical!!
Well said.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicky24 View Post
Just out of curiosity - can you get snow chains for rental cars?
Of course you can. You just go to the tire chain store and buy them. This is America! You can buy anything you want!

But, every rental agreement I've ever seen prohibits the use of chains somewhere in the fine print. The rental agency certainly won't provide them for you, if that's what you were asking.

The only time I've ever needed chains was in California where they have checkpoints with cops who won't let you pass without chains. I've never heard of this anywhere else. You should probably just forget the whole chain thing for Colorado.

As for rental car vs shuttle, you'll probably be fine in a rental car. Exercise some judgement about driving in bad weather and you'll be fine. You don't need 4WD, which is more of a fashion statement than a useful feature.
post #41 of 58
Hey, it's on the state quarter!

post #42 of 58
OK, I LOL'd.
post #43 of 58
If you like skiing you will like driving on snowy roads. Rent the car. We can discuss steering/drifting technique when you give us your trip report.
post #44 of 58
Given the response to this thread, and especially if Vicky's traveling companion is another lady, she should post up about two weeks before her trip and there should be 5 or 10 guys volunteering to drive her to Winter Park
post #45 of 58
Vicky mentioned checking with her "OH". Whether said other half is a guy or a girl, I think the might make the odds worse for guys

BTW I really like dumpy's summary including the piss/moan filter!

I will just say - drive carefully if you hire a car, and don't get affected by the evil SUV mind-control rays if you rent an AWD. Note the picture on the State Quarter (LOL). Otherwise you driving an AWD/4WD here may turn out similar to my driving a Kia C'eed crossover in the Cotswolds a couple of months ago on those back roads filled with sheep and hidden fenceposts.
post #46 of 58
Thread Starter 
haha, this has cheered up my monday morning in the office...

I was married in 2007... to a man incase there is any confusion. Haha. Although if it means I can hitch a ride I'll gladly leave him at home?
post #47 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicky24 View Post
Although if it means I can hitch a ride I'll gladly leave him at home?
So Vicky, when are you going to be in Denver anyway?
post #48 of 58
Thread Starter 
That would be 17th - 26th December

If I was to rent a car, how would you guys recommend going about it?

I mean, do I just rock up at the airport and book it that way? Or do you have to wait a while?

I had been looking on car rental comparison sites for prices, but they require you to pay up in advance etc

(I'm holding out on the £ appreciating, the cost of this trip is going up by the minute)
post #49 of 58
Vicky

You can buy USdollar bank drafts or travelers cheques any time. Much of your costs can be paid this way, and you lock in the exchange rate when you buy. Your credit card holds the reservation, then you pay by the travelers cheque when you're at the counter.

Domestic car rentals here don't require prepayment, but do require a credit card to cover potential damage costs. I don't know if overseas reservations require prepayment. Again, everything can be paid by travelers cheque. Do make a car reservation if you chose to rent. I like kayak.com to pick the rental company.

I've been on I-70 when the snow surface has been polished by spinning tires to a slick glaze. 2wd cars with so-called all-season tires were either sliding to the side and stopping or progressing at 4-5 mph. I've booked a 4wd small SUV for my trip later this month.
post #50 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkXS View Post
BTW I really like dumpy's summary including the piss/moan filter!
Well thank you, I had good inspiration!!

As I'm sure you know, Epic is a great place to exercise your piss/moan filter.
post #51 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicky24 View Post
That would be 17th - 26th December
I was hoping it would be later in the season so I could say hello to you and your OH and maybe show you a run or two at WP. I hope you have a wonderful experience in Colorado. I'll be looking for a couple of pictures in your trip report
post #52 of 58
Vicky24,

Do whatever feels right.

I've driven my 4WD SUV from Boulder to Winter Park every winter weekend for the past two seasons. I drove it every weekend to Loveland for four years before that. I use premium M&S rated Michelin tires with plenty of tread. I drive extremely early in the morning and late in the evening.

The trips to Loveland were never an issue in even the biggest blizzard. Rarely did I use 4WD. This is an all I-70 route.

Winter Park has a different aspect. Things can change once you get off I-70. I find that after reaching the sharp bend at the road closure gate/Climax Mine turnoff, that probably 80% of the time I have to pull over at a turnout a few big bends up and lock the front hubs. This is if it has been snowing heavily or if there have been freeze/thaw/snow cycles. Some of the curves stay in the shade and can be icy/snow-packed.

If Lenny or Rusty see this thread, they have driven this route even more frequently than anybody else on this forum.

If you guys want to meetup for beers, I will probably be in the Coffee & Ski School Market in the Balcony House after 4 PM.
post #53 of 58
Thread Starter 
Thanking you! Beers sound good, what is the apres ski like at winter park generally?

P.S - are there big drops/cliffs off the side of the road? I think this is what frightens me - I've seen these types of roads before in the US in Yosemite in summer. haha
post #54 of 58
Vicky, yes there are, coming over Berthoud Pass there's a couple of hairpins, but they have barriers on them.

The I-70 (main road from Denver to the ski resorts) is a bit like the A1(M), but with a bit of an incline on it.
You turn off it to go over Berthoud Pass and into Winter Park.

There is some apres to be had - it's been a few years since I was there, so I'll leave it to the locals to recommend where you can get a pint of bitter and some pork scratchings

If Mr Vicky is feeling romantic, he should organise a dinner at the Lodge at Sunspot - but you need to book it in advance.
post #55 of 58

my .02

I drove to WP from just north of Denver prob. 20+ times to ski last winter. Road conditions varied from packed snow to completely dry. The one nice thing about the pass (Berthoud) is that everyone (for the most part) drives so slow around the turns that accidents are normally very minor. Last year a car in front of me was going around the turn, spun out into a snowbank and just put it in reverse, backed up and kept on with their drive. No injuries, no damage.
With that said driving on I-70 can be VERY dangerous I've seen up to 5 cars in seperate accidents comletely rolled just heading BACK from Summit County. You will miss most if not all the more dangerous I-70 traffic by going to WP. There is also a train that goes to WP you may want to look into. That would likely be the safest and most scenic way to get there. Enjoy your trip its a great mountain!
post #56 of 58
Thread Starter 
Hairpins with steep drops. Crikey... at least it will be dark if we do decide to drive. I won't get to see them then.

Haha - my OH loves pork scratchings. The hotel we are staying in has a brewery in it apparently... looking forward to that one.

Well, unfortunately, as my OH is about as much use as a chocolate tea pot in organising things I guess the latter will be left to me... I had thought of going here for Xmas lunch - I wonder if there will be any chance of a yorkshire pud?
post #57 of 58
Thread Starter 
Guys - just to update you on this one (incase any of you were interested that is...)

We are back from our trip (see trip report thread)

I did hire a car (OH picked it.. a Nissan Xterra?). We drove up on 17th Dec - roads were a little icy but generally fine.

So pleased we got the car - meant we could explore a bit when our legs were hurting too much, seen Lake Granby, Fraser, Hot Suplhur Springs, Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, and a day trip to Denver (solely for the purpose of going to the Cheesecake factory haha...)

However.... our flight home on Dec 26th required an early start. There had been winter storm warnings on xmas day and we were watching the weather closely. Up at 5am - no snow, we were due to leave at 6 am but by 5.30 - there must have been an inch of the white stuff on the ground - quite scary driving over the pass with blowing snow etc..

but hey.... I made it in one piece !!
post #58 of 58
You would have loved my drive south from Sudbury Ontario on the afternoon of Christmas eve. Highway 69 was a sheet of ice with an inch or two of wet slush on top of it. Things were fine until between French River and Parry sound (except for the trucks that would speed up every time you got a chance to pass them), then things got progressively worse. Lot's of cars spun out, 4x4's hung up on the snowbanks after doing some unintentional off-roading, and a multi-car accident that closed the highway. I guess the heavy slush was causing a little hydroplaning and people were going too fast for the conditions.

Fortunately the accident happened just a few minutes before I got there. There were lots of people around with first aid kits and cell phones, so I didn't stick around, but I don't know how long I would have had to wait if I had of left Sudbury 20 minutes later.
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