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skis and rental car

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I know we can rent ski racks (you can request them but they don't guarantee they'll have them when you arrive) or a big SUV from a car rental company but can anyone tell me if a double ski bag will fit inside...a compact rental car? Intermediate? Obviously a hatchback would be good but it happens so often that the company doesn't have the car you requested, and gives you another in the same class, so I'm wondering in general about which size to request.
post #2 of 17
I would say depends on how long the skis are and whether or not you plan to use the back seat? I'd say a mid-size car or bigger. Hope for a back seat that folds?
post #3 of 17
My 170s will fit in my Camry with the larger split of the back seat folded down, but I wouldn't want to try to fit my 186s in (hence the ski box on top). If you're a frequent renter, my car rental company (hertz) has been really good at either providing a car with a ski carrier, or upgrading me to a larger vehicle. Perhaps a bigger worry might be the state of the tires on a non-snowequipped vehicle if you're driving mountain roads.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Good to know, thanks.
Based on the many, many threads about the subject here, where most people argue you do not need a 4WD, I'm not too concerned with the drive up I-70 to Copper in a regular front wheel drive rental car. We can probably switch to something else if forecasted conditions are bad.
post #5 of 17
I've had good luck in reserving a car that's at least one class above the rock bottom cheapie "economy".

Majority of mid-size car these days have fold down back seat. Skis will fit fine with that arrangemenet unless you need the back seat for passenger.

If you reserve a hatchback and they don't have it, accept the "upgrade" on condition it has fold down back seat. They'll upgrade you until you're in a car that's either large enough or has the feature to replace the one you reserve.

That's at least my experience renting from "the majors"...
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Great, thanks!
post #7 of 17
I almost always rent an economy and only once did the back seat not fold down. They switched me to one that did without any problems.
post #8 of 17
I have made out fine many times in a compact/intermediate rental car with fold-down rear seats for travel to Summit County from DIA. You save the cost of the rack and the skis are safer. AWD is a plus, but as long as you are in a resort area with decent plowing, you can get by fine with FWD.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Great, that's what I'll plan on doing then.
post #10 of 17

JimH You had said "... AWD is a plus, but as long as you are in a resort area with decent plowing, you can get by fine with FWD."

I agree, but I'll need to drive about 100 miles to reach a resort, next end of Jan.

In some places in Europe(Austria, Germany) the use of winter tires are mandatory. Is it in the USA.

Are the rental cars companies able to offer this tires in USA? Is it a normal procedure?

Thanks !
post #11 of 17
I yet have to see a rental car with snow tires. You can expect all-season tires, which don't do well in the snow.

If you rent a SUV, the tire tread may be more suitable for snow.
post #12 of 17
kawo is correct - rental cars come only with all season tires. The drive to Summit County from Denver is via I-70 which is well maintained. No problem with a FWD rental car except in the middle of a major storm. Colorado does not have chain laws for cars like places like California does for Donner Pass.
post #13 of 17
Good advice!!

FWD means "front" or "Four" Wheels Drive ???????
post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by edlam View Post
Good advice!!

FWD means "front" or "Four" Wheels Drive ???????
FWD = Front Wheel Drive
4WD = Four Wheel Drive
AWD = All-Wheel Drive (slight distinction from 4WD).
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

In case this is helpful to anyone else, here's a report back. We reserved a compact ($175 for 9 days) and Alamo had us choose any compact we wanted from a line of cars. We asked which ones had seats that folded down for our skis and they said, all of them. So we picked a Prius which had more than enough room for a double ski bag, 2 big suitcases, and 3 bags of groceries. We used exactly 8 gallons of gas between the Denver airport, to Copper Mt, then to Aspen, then back to the Denver airport, with some minor detours. Oh and the lady at Alamo who told us we'd be sorry that we didn't upgrade to a 6 cylinder when going over mountain passes was wrong. The Prius had plenty of power.

post #16 of 17

Aspen was skiing good last week! I'll bet you had fun!

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 

We did have fun but it was about a week and a half ago, when it was super warm. Copper held up great but Aspen/Snowmass did not--Snowmass had the slushiest conditions I've ever skied in.

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