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Travel Route from Denver to Steamboat?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm arriving with a family of 8 into Denver at 5:30 Saturday evening and am then driving to Steamboat. I will have a 4WD vehicle. If the weather ends up nasty as they are predicting Saturday night (30-50 mph winds, heavy snow bursts, etc.), is it better to take Route 40 from I-70, or continue on I-70 thru the tunnel, then take Route 9 to Route 40? Mapquest takes me the Route 9 way. But, what road is better in a snowstorm at night?

Also, if its real bad, I would just rather stay in Denver area Saturday night and head up in daylight Sunday. Anyway to get weather info and road info for these routes at the airport in Denver before heading out?
post #2 of 13
9 is definitely better -- 40 takes you over Berthoud Pass, and you are much more likely to get a plow on 70 than 40.

Dial 511 on your cell and it will connect you to road conditions. If you have an internet enabled mobile device, you can browse to www.cotrip.org and check current road conditions (and travel times on I-70).

Mike
post #3 of 13
Driving in the mountains at night during a storm is best avoided, regardless of which road you select. If the storm does happen as predicted and you decide to drive to Steamboat anyway, I would suggest staying on I-70 as long as possible. That way, you can opt to spend the night in Dillon/Silverthorne if your nerves are fried by that point (or at least make a pit stop before you hit the more desolate state roads) Remember, you will be crossing Rabbit Ears Pass before you reach Steamboat and it could easily be the most "challenging" part of your journey if it is snowing.

If I had the option and it was snowing, I would spend the night in Denver. That would also give you a night to acclimate before heading up higher, if you are from sea level.

Have fun on your vacation.
post #4 of 13
Both good tips. 9 is the way we always go to Steamboat when we fly into Denver. 9 is always in good condition. Problem is, there's not much between Kremmling and Steamboat. I've also been on Rabbit Ears Pass in a storm. It's not much fun. If the storm that is predicted hits, it could be rather nasty. Spending the night in Denver might not be a bad idea.

The down side of doing that is you'll probably be missing out on two feet of Champagne powder.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
The down side of doing that is you'll probably be missing out on two feet of Champagne powder.
We were going to wait till Monday to ski anyway and the safety of my family means more than an extra day in the snow .

Thanks for the great info everyone.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaman View Post
We were going to wait till Monday to ski anyway and the safety of my family means more than an extra day in the snow .

Thanks for the great info everyone.
That's a very wise decision. Why take chances.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Lars,

Seems like your signature line doesn't match your advice . John Wayne would probably go ahead and make the drive in a zero visibility blizzard. But then again, I ain't John Wayne
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by spdskr View Post
... snip ... If the storm does happen as predicted and you decide to drive to Steamboat anyway, I would suggest staying on I-70 as long as possible. ... snip

Have fun on your vacation.
Just be sure not to delay to 131. 131 is a very narrow road up through Toponas and Yampa, and I would not advise it in a snow storm (although it does go by my aunt's house).

Mike
post #9 of 13
We will be a couple hours ahead of you on Saturday. See you up there.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
That's a very wise decision. Why take chances.
Ummmmm here's why




I'd drive up on Saturday before the storm really gets going...it is supposed to start late Sat and last all week. There will be less traffic going up the hill at night and I would got the 70 to 9 route. You have 4wd so just take your time and don't rush and you will be fine.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Altitude at the Passes

Quick question. I know Steamboat base is about 6500 feet altitude and that is where we are staying, so not worried about altitude sickness there. Sunday is just to be a relax day for us and we will hit the slopes Monday, so I'm also not worried about pushing it the first day. But I noticed driving there we would cross some 11,500 foot passes. My 70 year old mother-in-law (whose a bit overweight) is travelling with us, and I'm a little worried about getting out there and immediately taking the drive through those altitudes and how it might affect her. Should I be? I've already paid for the condo Saturday night in Steamboat, but for bad weather conditions, or any realistic chance of her having any problems because of the altitude on just the drive crossing the passes, I'd go ahead and stay in Denver area Saturday night and let her get acclimated. Advice?
post #12 of 13
It just depends. Some folk will have trouble even at Denver's altitude. Others will not. My father in law is 87, and I've taken him over Trail Ridge Road which is over 13k.

Does she have congestive heart failure? More like she will have problems if she does. But I suspect that it won't matter that much; if she's likely to have problems at 6700 feet, she will probably have them at Denver's 5200 feet.

It's roughly a 4 hour drive from DIA to Steamboat. If it is snowing, I'd say that discretion is the better part of valor -- wait until daylight to drive to Steamboat. I'd wait until the ski traffic is over leaving Denver no earlier than 9 AM.

Mike
post #13 of 13
You could stop for dinner @ Casa Bonita, in Lakewood on the way up. This should keep the Cabin Pressue up in the rental car, thus taking care of any altitude issues when going over the higher passes!




Jokes aside, Enjoy the Boat!
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