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Driving conditions from Denver

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Driving conditions from Denver

I'm trying to get a sense from locals and frequent drivers to Vail how bad the roads could be between there and Denver. I have read the existing threads on driving from Vail and when possible Fly into Vail or get on a shuttle. But I am looking to potentially make some additional stops in Denver and on the way up so am looking to rent a car.

I went to school at CU Boulder and have made the summit county drive several times, though several years ago. I'm familiar with winter driving and make my way up to Tahoe during the winter.

But what I'm not sure is it possible for the roads to be so bad we wouldn't make it up because roads may be closed or the tires aren't sufficient? Or will it just take a really long time and be stressful winter drive? We get into Denver at 8:00 pm so it is going to be cold at the very least driving up at night. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

In some ways it's an easy drive--because it's all multi lane expressway.

But, either/both the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Vail Pass have been known to close in bad weather.

Colorado
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2. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

Check www.cotrip.org for road conditions before you go.

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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3. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

Welcome to the forum. You can't predict it so I wouldn't build your trip decision around it. Yes, it's possible the road could be closed and you can't get through. That would be rare and not worth changing your plan. If you need to make stops in Denver, stick with your plan. For sure get a front wheel drive car. Most majors out of Denver at least have decent all season tires. A 4WD may give you more security but also won't be a guarantee of anything. Just be prudent and you'll be fine. Even in a worst case scenario it will be better than a bad storm on Donner Summit.

Have fun.

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

I would not drive it at night in the winter if at all possible to avoid it, unless road conditions are good. We got a late start not too long ago and ended up in a snowstorm in the late afternoon into the evening, heading west to east on a Friday, so opposite of the "ski traffic." Both Vail and the tunnels were open, but just barely. Trucks were chained up but quite a few were unable to move due to icy road under the fresh snow, and lots of people were off the road (including us, and we had brand new very good tires and a zillion years of Colorado driving experience...there was a situation ahead of us we had to avoid so he chose to go into the snowbank) We made it, but it was a very long, stressful, dangerous drive. Traffic may be moving along fairly well and then all of a sudden it is bumper to bumper at a snail's pace. One problem these days is that there is so darn much traffic most of the way.

That said, if you feel you must go that night and road/weather conditions look pretty normal, just plan to take it slowly and you'll probably be fine in a front wheel drive, All wheel drive or 4wd vehicle, preferably similar to what you're familiar with driving and do take a look at the tire tread and wear on the car you rent.

Edited: 7:56 pm, January 28, 2014
Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

If you've driven to Tahoe during a snow storm, it won't be worse then that drive. It's interstate freeway the whole way. The passes can be slippery and could close, but not likely. We too arrive at night and our plan is to stay in Evergreen well out of the city, but not into the difficult mountains. We wake up early and do the 2nd half of the drive in the morning . Less stressful and accommodations are much cheaper then a night in Vail. We don't miss out on any skiing, drive during daylight is easier, and we save a couple hundred dollars on lodging.

Edited: 4:09 am, January 29, 2014
6. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

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7. Re: Driving conditions from Denver

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