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Old 12-30-2015, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269

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Hi everyone!

As we get closer to making this move a reality, I need to start preparing for the reality of winter. Luckily, we will be moving out there in July, so we will have some time to acclimate to CO before winter; but, I want to be sure we are preparing ourselves properly.

What winter "stuff" do we need to anticipate purchasing. Clothes, shoes, shovels, emergency prep kits, tires, etc. I am completely ignorant in this regard, so feel free to make fun. I have tough skin !

We also have hybrids. I drive a Toyota Prius C and my husband drives a Honda Insight. I know nothing about cars, but they are both Front Wheel Drive. Is this going to be an issue? I just bought it last year. It was my first new car and I can't imagine giving it up. I get 60 mpg some days! I read about someone who moved to Alaska with their Prius and had to get something equipped in the car to keep the engine warm overnight? I am CLUELESS! So, please, any recommendations on winterizing our cars is welcomed! We are looking at living in Denver, CoS, or Fort Collins. Nowhere remote.

On a casual sidenote...how do you all afford your car registrations? Crazy!
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
2,019 posts, read 4,323,534 times
Reputation: 2858
Some websites with good info:
https://www.readycolorado.com/blog/p...winter-driving
Colorado Basics: 5 Tips for Dressing like a Coloradan | Colorado.com
Five Things to Prepare Your Colorado Home for Winter | ERC
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Wonderful! Thank you!
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,875 posts, read 9,619,939 times
Reputation: 4942
Shelly, you are definitely an over-thinker. If you move in July, you'll have plenty of time to prepare for winter. Sorry to sound harsh, but you really should just focus on finding jobs and housing. The rest will follow.

Regarding the car, Anchorage and Fairbanks get a LOT colder than Colorado. If you were in Alaska, you'd need a warmer for your engine. Even in the mountains of Colorado, it doesn't get as cold as it used to. When I lived in Steamboat in the 70s we would plug our engine warmers (can't remember what they were called) in overnight to keep the engine from freezing up. Don't need to do that anymore, and especially don't need to do it on the Front Range.

What you will need to do to winterize your car is (1) make sure your coolant is sufficient. Usually the oil change places will check this for you. (2) Get the blue windshield washing fluid. Sold everywhere in the winter time. (3) make sure you have good winter (not all-season) tires. Front wheel drive is a good thing. If you have never driven on snow and ice, then you should take a winter driving course before venturing out on the roads.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Shelly, you are definitely an over-thinker. If you move in July, you'll have plenty of time to prepare for winter. Sorry to sound harsh, but you really should just focus on finding jobs and housing. The rest will follow.

Regarding the car, Anchorage and Fairbanks get a LOT colder than Colorado. If you were in Alaska, you'd need a warmer for your engine. Even in the mountains of Colorado, it doesn't get as cold as it used to. When I lived in Steamboat in the 70s we would plug our engine warmers (can't remember what they were called) in overnight to keep the engine from freezing up. Don't need to do that anymore, and especially don't need to do it on the Front Range.

What you will need to do to winterize your car is (1) make sure your coolant is sufficient. Usually the oil change places will check this for you. (2) Get the blue windshield washing fluid. Sold everywhere in the winter time. (3) make sure you have good winter (not all-season) tires. Front wheel drive is a good thing. If you have never driven on snow and ice, then you should take a winter driving course before venturing out on the roads.
Thank you for your advice Dreaming of Hawaii . Oh gosh, no kidding about the over-thinker part! You should try being my husband and daughter. Although, my knack for over-planning does yield some pretty amazing vacations! It is in my nature to tackle everything at once. It's good to know that I will have plenty of time, though. I want to be sure we budget for the necessities and don't find ourselves scrambling to purchase stuff that we can't afford. I will definitely sign up for a driving course. Great recommendation! I have to say, driving in the winter is the only thing that really has me nervous.
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:18 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,199,644 times
Reputation: 14905
Shelly ...

1) your cars are quite adequate for the routine winter driving here. You do not need a 4x4 vehicle for normal roads,

although AWD cars are extremely popular in Colorado (and it has been said that it's a requirement for all newcomers to buy a Subaru ... well, let's just say that they are very competent winter cars ... and me and Mrs Sun drive two OBW Limited's for our DD's. But that's just our requirements on back country roads in WY to our ranch/farm, and the need to haul livestock from time to time to the vet, or pick up bulk ranch supplies (feed, mineral blocks, construction materials, etc)).

For the most part, however, if the road conditions are in excess of what your vehicles are capable of dealing with ... these are the days where you should heed the road warnings and stay put. Seriously, there will be days when the place shuts down for awhile and no unnecessary travel is advised. "Snow Days" where schools, many businesses, gov't agencies ... will be closed for the day. Not to worry, everybody will be in the same situation. There will be a few who are prepared to deal with these extremes, usually at significant cost of investment in a vehicle ... but you don't need to do this.

2) Block heaters aren't a real necessity for gasoline powered cars along the Front Range. Modern fuel injection systems and the current blends of gasoline are well able to deal with the cold temps here. You'll want to start you car, allow it to warm up the engine for a moment or so, and then drive off gently as the engine warms up to normal operating temperature. Of course, having the car serviced with the correct "winter weight" oil per the manufacturer is advisable.

3) Winter tires are advisable. You'll also want to put together a winter driving kit, which for local purposes would be a snow brush/broom, ice scraper, and normal winter time accessories such as spare gloves, sunglasses, and maybe some jumper cables and a shovel for those times when they might be needed ... if not for you, your traveling neighbor that you'll be able to help out when they need assistance.

4) Be advised that Colorado does have a plethora of stores which cater to the winter time environment each year. You'll have no difficulty finding ready sources at many different price levels (economy through to high dollar fashion as well as utility) clothing, footwear, gloves, hats, and so forth. The discounters do a big business here, too. Take a look at the webpage for Sierra Trading Post to get an idea of what's available ... in addition to the places like Cabela's, LLBean, or any of the other numerous catalogue vendors of the stuff.

In any event, with a mid-summer arrival, you'll have plenty of time to seek out local's opinions as to what you'll really need and likely want to have to be prepared ... and lots of time to shop. Don't go overboard to start with, get some basics and then seek your own comfort/style/utility levels. Personally, I live in Carhartt, Filson, Wolverine, Justin boots, and an assortment of gloves; North Face and Columbia for more fashionable clothing outerwear when I'm not in working clothes. But again, you'll need to try out the stuff which appeals to you and work your way to the comfort level that you like. Don't forget that the key to comfort for most folk is to "layer up"; ie, don't depend upon a single heavy outer layer but rather use multiple layers of clothing to reach your comfort level. Then you can shed or add as required depending upon the circumstances, temperatures, and activity level.

PS: one aspect of Colorado winter living that rarely gets mentioned for folk transitioning from southern latitudes is that the winter days get very short compared to what you're acclimated to closer to the equator. Check the sol-lunar tables and you'll notice that winter days, especially around the winter Solstice have but around 9 hours of daylight. The sun travels a very tight arc across the sky, and the duration of dawn and sunrise or dusk to sunset and darkness is very short. This can be a major factor in "winter time blues" for some folk where it's an involuntary reaction to the limited daylight hours in the depths of the winter months. Be prepared for the coldest time of most winter days to be in the morning after the longest duration of no solar heating, with Colorado sunshine warming things up through the day ... if it's a sunny day outside (which may present on many winter days, it's why winter here may not seem as daunting as the winter overcast days on end of other locales).

Last edited by sunsprit; 12-30-2015 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,887 posts, read 102,301,239 times
Reputation: 32946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Shelly, you are definitely an over-thinker. If you move in July, you'll have plenty of time to prepare for winter. Sorry to sound harsh, but you really should just focus on finding jobs and housing. The rest will follow.

Regarding the car, Anchorage and Fairbanks get a LOT colder than Colorado. If you were in Alaska, you'd need a warmer for your engine. Even in the mountains of Colorado, it doesn't get as cold as it used to. When I lived in Steamboat in the 70s we would plug our engine warmers (can't remember what they were called) in overnight to keep the engine from freezing up. Don't need to do that anymore, and especially don't need to do it on the Front Range.

What you will need to do to winterize your car is (1) make sure your coolant is sufficient. Usually the oil change places will check this for you. (2) Get the blue windshield washing fluid. Sold everywhere in the winter time. (3) make sure you have good winter (not all-season) tires. Front wheel drive is a good thing. If you have never driven on snow and ice, then you should take a winter driving course before venturing out on the roads.
As the others have said, there are plenty of stores here where you can get your winter provisions. By July, they will probably have the winter coats out. You need a minimum of one warm coat, a pair of warm gloves, a hat and snow boots per person. Everything else is optional. There are many days when, even if the temp is fairly low, it doesn't feel that cold due to the sun. Often, you can get by with a fairly light weight jacket, especially if driving in the car and not needing to do a lot of walking.

You'll probably need a snow shovel, but if you have a south facing driveway, you won't need to use it very often. They will be all over the place, if not in July, certainly by September. The best emergency kit is a blanket, a flashlight and some food. It is rare to get stuck in Denver. If you plan on going to the mountains frequently, you'll need to take that stuff along. The rules for chains in the mountains keep changing, but having chains is helpful in some situations. Having lived in rural Illinois before I came here, I always keep a blanket in the car.

Take a look at the average temps. The average January highs are 43-44 degrees in Denver. On a sunny day, that feels warm indeed. It is not unusual to see days in the 50s and 60s in January, and even an occasional day in the 70s, as on Jan. 27 of this past year.
January Weather for Denver Centennial, CO | Weather Underground
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Shelly ...

1) your cars are quite adequate for the routine winter driving here. You do not need a 4x4 vehicle for normal roads,

although AWD cars are extremely popular in Colorado (and it has been said that it's a requirement for all newcomers to buy a Subaru ... well, let's just say that they are very competent winter cars ... and me and Mrs Sun drive two OBW Limited's for our DD's. But that's just our requirements on back country roads in WY to our ranch/farm, and the need to haul livestock from time to time to the vet, or pick up bulk ranch supplies (feed, mineral blocks, construction materials, etc)).

For the most part, however, if the road conditions are in excess of what your vehicles are capable of dealing with ... these are the days where you should heed the road warnings and stay put. Seriously, there will be days when the place shuts down for awhile and no unnecessary travel is advised. "Snow Days" where schools, many businesses, gov't agencies ... will be closed for the day. Not to worry, everybody will be in the same situation. There will be a few who are prepared to deal with these extremes, usually at significant cost of investment in a vehicle ... but you don't need to do this.

2) Block heaters aren't a real necessity for gasoline powered cars along the Front Range. Modern fuel injection systems and the current blends of gasoline are well able to deal with the cold temps here. You'll want to start you car, allow it to warm up the engine for a moment or so, and then drive off gently as the engine warms up to normal operating temperature. Of course, having the car serviced with the correct "winter weight" oil per the manufacturer is advisable.

3) Winter tires are advisable. You'll also want to put together a winter driving kit, which for local purposes would be a snow brush/broom, ice scraper, and normal winter time accessories such as spare gloves, sunglasses, and maybe some jumper cables and a shovel for those times when they might be needed ... if not for you, your traveling neighbor that you'll be able to help out when they need assistance.

4) Be advised that Colorado does have a plethora of stores which cater to the winter time environment each year. You'll have no difficulty finding ready sources at many different price levels (economy through to high dollar fashion as well as utility) clothing, footwear, gloves, hats, and so forth. The discounters do a big business here, too. Take a look at the webpage for Sierra Trading Post to get an idea of what's available ... in addition to the places like Cabela's, LLBean, or any of the other numerous catalogue vendors of the stuff.

In any event, with a mid-summer arrival, you'll have plenty of time to seek out local's opinions as to what you'll really need and likely want to have to be prepared ... and lots of time to shop. Don't go overboard to start with, get some basics and then seek your own comfort/style/utility levels. Personally, I live in Carhartt, Filson, Wolverine, Justin boots, and an assortment of gloves; North Face and Columbia for more fashionable clothing outerwear when I'm not in working clothes. But again, you'll need to try out the stuff which appeals to you and work your way to the comfort level that you like. Don't forget that the key to comfort for most folk is to "layer up"; ie, don't depend upon a single heavy outer layer but rather use multiple layers of clothing to reach your comfort level. Then you can shed or add as required depending upon the circumstances, temperatures, and activity level.

PS: one aspect of Colorado winter living that rarely gets mentioned for folk transitioning from southern latitudes is that the winter days get very short compared to what you're acclimated to closer to the equator. Check the sol-lunar tables and you'll notice that winter days, especially around the winter Solstice have but around 9 hours of daylight. The sun travels a very tight arc across the sky, and the duration of dawn and sunrise or dusk to sunset and darkness is very short. This can be a major factor in "winter time blues" for some folk where it's an involuntary reaction to the limited daylight hours in the depths of the winter months. Be prepared for the coldest time of most winter days to be in the morning after the longest duration of no solar heating, with Colorado sunshine warming things up through the day ... if it's a sunny day outside (which may present on many winter days, it's why winter here may not seem as daunting as the winter overcast days on end of other locales).
Excellent information, Sunsprit. Thank you so much! Interesting facts about the short days. That is certainly something of which to be aware. I'm glad to know our cars will be sufficient. Although, I do love a Subaru Outback . I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to put together all of that information. It is very helpful!
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
199 posts, read 179,747 times
Reputation: 269
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
As the others have said, there are plenty of stores here where you can get your winter provisions. By July, they will probably have the winter coats out. You need a minimum of one warm coat, a pair of warm gloves, a hat and snow boots per person. Everything else is optional. There are many days when, even if the temp is fairly low, it doesn't feel that cold due to the sun. Often, you can get by with a fairly light weight jacket, especially if driving in the car and not needing to do a lot of walking.

You'll probably need a snow shovel, but if you have a south facing driveway, you won't need to use it very often. They will be all over the place, if not in July, certainly by September. The best emergency kit is a blanket, a flashlight and some food. It is rare to get stuck in Denver. If you plan on going to the mountains frequently, you'll need to take that stuff along. The rules for chains in the mountains keep changing, but having chains is helpful in some situations. Having lived in rural Illinois before I came here, I always keep a blanket in the car.

Take a look at the average temps. The average January highs are 43-44 degrees in Denver. On a sunny day, that feels warm indeed. It is not unusual to see days in the 50s and 60s in January, and even an occasional day in the 70s, as on Jan. 27 of this past year.
January Weather for Denver Centennial, CO | Weather Underground
Thank you, Katarina! We will be visiting the weekend of 1/15, so we will get a minimal idea of what winter weather is like there. Very good information. I appreciate it very much.
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