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Steamboat - Denver Info Please

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Am going to Steamboat Dec 13-21 with family of 8 (Wife, Mother-In-Law, 5 kids ranging from 19 to 7. Flying into Denver. Going to rent 2 full-size cars to get to Steamboat (much cheaper than shuttle). We will have 4WD Suburban for use at place I'm staying while in Steamboat.

Question 1: Are most full-size car rentals at Denver Intl. front-wheel drive? I'm thinking, barring real nasty conditions, that this will be sufficient to get to Steamboat accomodations.

Question 2: Am checking out of Steamboat Accomodations on Saturday, Dec 20, but not flying out till next day (Sunday afternoon) from Denver. Suggestions on where to go and what to do from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon having to go from Steamboat to Denver.
post #2 of 16
1) No. You'll need to specify 4WD or SUV. And yes, you should probably get 4WD. While not important in Denver, you may need them on Rabbit Ears Pass (it is often restricted).
2) You can ski during Saturday and have the front desk or rental office store your luggage. You can change in a bathroom if needed. Afterall, you're going up there to ski, right?

Have fun.
post #3 of 16
You could get in a few more runs at Loveland or tube at Fraiser.

or....
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Family Event

Quote:
Originally Posted by nogophers View Post
1) No. You'll need to specify 4WD or SUV. And yes, you should probably get 4WD. While not important in Denver, you may need them on Rabbit Ears Pass (it is often restricted).
2) You can ski during Saturday and have the front desk or rental office store your luggage. You can change in a bathroom if needed. Afterall, you're going up there to ski, right?

Have fun.
1) Seriously? I know it "may" be needed, but I went thru this last year with people on the forum and most said that unless it's really nasty, they do a good job on the roads. Renting two 4WD vehichles ups my cost about $600. We went thru the pass between Jackson and Grand Targhee with a FWD Avalon last year in heavy snow at night and had no problem. Don't want to start a debate on if I need AWD or 4WD or not as I've learned there are varying opinions on this. I know it's preferrable and "may" be necessary, but if its that bad, I'll probably just stay in Denver until it improves.

2) Actually, only 3 of us ski. This year, instead of the three of us going just to ski, the wife is making me take the whole family for a family vacation (the three of us will ski 3-4 days though ). So the Saturday-Sunday thing needs to be a family event.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nogophers View Post
1) No. You'll need to specify 4WD or SUV. And yes, you should probably get 4WD. While not important in Denver, you may need them on Rabbit Ears Pass (it is often restricted).
Incorrect....... you will be fine with full size car and yes it will likely be a front wheel drive as almost all cars are these days.

I've driven over Rabbit Ears in raging storms in front wheel drive cars and done just fine. They will be plowing constantly if it snowing and it would be a rare storm that will close the pass.
post #6 of 16

SB

Hey, you asked, so don't jump all over me. I lived there for 4 years and the pass would be restricted to chains or 4WD several times per year. Chances are, you'll be fine. And, since your schedule is more flexible than your budget, skip the 4WD.

Have a great time and don't forget to tip the waitresses and bartenders!
post #7 of 16
Tubing in Fraser. Dog sledding. snowmobiling. Wonderful spa and Xcountry skiing at Devil's Thumb and likely also at Steamboat.
Denver - new art museum if you're into that sort of thing.
post #8 of 16
Regarding cars, it depends. A full size could be a Crown Vic, Grand Marquis or a Chyrsler 300c which are RWD. Hertz and Dollar like to try to get rid of those thing in the winter because they're RWD and no one wants them.

Depends how they grade them (and what you ask for). The cars above are sometimes full size, sometimes premium. Beware of the "upgrade" into one of these - and beware of non-folding rear seats.
post #9 of 16
Depends on the weather. I've been on Rabbit Ears Pass with my friend sticking his head out the window so we could keep the suv between the snow banks, as it was snowing so hard the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the flakes.

So, heed the advice of experienced people or take your chances. It's your money. It's your family.

Look, 8 times out of 10 a front wheel drive is fine. The other 2 times could be life threatening. Did you check into a direct flight into Steamboat. Once you get there you don't even need a vehical. Their local free bus system is so efficient.

Good luck.
post #10 of 16
My suggestion for Saturday would be to leave Steamboat in the a.m. and stay in Denver. Stay near the airport or Tech Center (I-25 & I-225) as Saturday nights you can usually get good deals. These areas cater to business travelers during the week. You can easily spend a day in Denver doing the tourist thing: LODO, Cherry Creek, 16th St Mall, aquarium, art museum, botanical gardens...
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nogophers View Post
Hey, you asked, so don't jump all over me. I lived there for 4 years and the pass would be restricted to chains or 4WD several times per year.
The pass is never restricted to chains and 4WD for normal passenger vehicles... chain restrictions are for commercial vehicles only and I've never heard of a 4WD restriction on the pass or any major hwy in CO for that matter. I've been living in Steamboat for 6 years now and in the time i've been here there have never been restrictions on passenger vehicles, when it gets that bad they'll close the pass.

You'll be fine with a FWD as long as it has snow tires. I've driven a FWD for 5 of the years I've lived here and have never had issues even in the nastiest whiteout-can't-see-past-your-bumper conditions.
post #12 of 16
From the CDOT site. does not specify only applicable to commercial vehicles FYI.


Colorado chain law applies to every state highway, federal highway and interstate throughout the state. When the chain law is in effect, drivers will see signs along the roadway indicating which vehicles should chain-up. In some areas of the state, lighted variable message signs will also alert drivers of the chain-up information.
Metal chains must consist of two circular metal loops, one on each side of the tire, connected by not less than nine evenly spaced chains across the tread. Commercial vehicles having four or more drive wheels must chain four wheels. Dual tire chains are acceptable.
post #13 of 16
Anytime I've heard chain laws posted, they are for commercial vehicles. In the 5 years I have lived here, I have never seen chain restrictions apply to anything but commercial vehicles and 16 pass vans. Much different than Tahoe.
post #14 of 16
I agree with everyone here that you won't see chains required for your vehicle on Rabbit Ears. If it gets to that point it is most likely closed. I will say though, I have seen chains required for FWD passenger vehicles on Wolf Creek Pass. Three seasons ago, kind of caught me off guard (18+yrs in Colorado) as I've never seen that before. So it can happen. If it's that bad though, I really don't think you want to be traveling in it anyway.

Just try to drive during the day either direction. If you have to do some serious storm driving, it's worse by a magnitude of 10 if you are driving it at night. If your car doesn't have snow tires (ask) make sure they provide cables/chains. You probably won't need em, but if you do, you'll be glad they are there. Generally the decision to put them on is going to 100% up to you.
post #15 of 16
I am not local here ! But - on the last day head back to Denver and go to the DAM (Denver Art Museum ) It is well worth the trip just to see the building ! Then do some shopping in 16th Ave or Cherry Creek Shopping center. I love both these places !
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
If your car doesn't have snow tires (ask) make sure they provide cables/chains.
They won't and they don't.
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