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Old 01-30-2018, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,526 posts, read 10,194,145 times
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Ski traffic is much heavier than summer traffic into the mountains. If you plan correctly the odds of you sitting in traffic going up the hill or coming back are slim. I've been going to the mountains pretty regularly for the last 5-6 years. I've sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-70 maybe 3 or 4 times. One of them was a nasty wreck that required a freeway shutdown so a flight for life helicopter could land on the road.

The other complaint you'll hear is "the mountains are so crowded." If you go to the trails everyone recommends you're gonna run into everyone (duh). I hiked four 13ers (13,000' peaks) last year. All 4 trailheads are easily accessible off heavily-used paved highways. When I got to the summit there were 0, 3, fewer than 10, and 2 people up there with me respectively. One of them is more or less across the road from Mt. Bierstadt. There were probably 200-300 people going up Bierstadt, and a dozen or two going up Square Top. Most of the people on the Square Top trail stopped at the lakes.

There are literally thousands of miles of hiking trails here. You will likely never get bored.

Last edited by bluescreen73; 01-30-2018 at 09:42 AM..
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Denver via Austin
3,107 posts, read 6,474,876 times
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I was in your exact same situation this time last year. I'd been wanting to move to Colorado since I was a kid, and I got a job at the Tech Center. You'll get into the mountains regularly no problem if it's a priority. Colorado is home of the 6AM weekend alarm.

There have been a couple times for me when traffic has been bumper-to-bumper on I-70, but that only occurs for a couple hours Sunday afternoon/evening and is really easy to plan around. Even at the worst of traffic, the line at the tunnel and jams at Georgetown maybe add 30 minutes to the drive. Also, if you're on the south side of the metro and have to go back to town the same time everyone else does, using 285 will save you some headache (unless you're skiing at A-Basin or Keystone). The snow quality has been the main reason I've only gotten 5 days on the mountain this season so far, not the crowds. Anything more intimidating than a groomed blue is practically wide open, and getting to the free lots just a bit before the lifts open maybe involves a 5 minute walk in ski boots. It's pretty common for groups to pool in on a condo in Dillon/Silverthorne/Breck for the season, but I haven't found it to be worth it.

The Front Range 14ers are crazy crowded in the summer. Just hike the 13ers like bluescreen said, drive a little farther, or wake up a little earlier. You can get to the popular 14ers in winter easily enough. Most ranges in Colorado are even prettier than the ones near Denver anyway. Surprisingly enough, most people in Denver are pretty basic on the outdoors activities, and the crowds are easy to avoid.

Last edited by Westerner92; 01-30-2018 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:23 AM
 
5,444 posts, read 4,813,077 times
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As others have said, if you leave before the sun comes up, there won't be much traffic at all. If you wait and drive up there around 9-10am, you will be stuck for a while. There were signs on the highway last Saturday saying it was 2 hours to the Eisenhower tunnel. Also, during the week would be better than weekends, but that is a given.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:34 PM
 
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We aren't downhill skiers, so the I-70 corridor isn't a big draw for us. We hike nearly every weekend along the northern Front Range, so don't really have to deal with traffic, but occasionally, if we are on trip to Leadville or down in Salida or something, we have come back via I-70 and have been caught in horrendous traffic coming back into Denver, that would make LA blush.

We occasionally get caught in traffic on I-25 between Castle Rock and Denver and then there is always the bottleneck near Thornton.
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA, USA
7 posts, read 5,270 times
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Thanks everybody for the responses, this is really valuable. Sounds like if I want to make it work, I can. I've done day trips from Boston to New Hampshire so I am no stranger to the 5am wake up time. I am most likely going to be working Boston hours, so 6:30am-3pm Denver time. Will that early dismissal give me a big boost on Fridays if I am heading out to stay at the mountains for a weekend? Or does everybody have the same idea as me and there's already traffic at that time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brown_dog_us View Post
You do need a solid vehicle with good tires.
Is this a concern for reaching certain ski areas, or all ski areas in general? I'm used to winter driving over here but at the end of the day I am still driving my humble Camry.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:20 AM
 
1,561 posts, read 2,817,479 times
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Camry (AWD?) should be fine with decent tread on the tires.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,904 posts, read 6,496,831 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0cu5 View Post
Thanks everybody for the responses, this is really valuable. Sounds like if I want to make it work, I can. I've done day trips from Boston to New Hampshire so I am no stranger to the 5am wake up time. I am most likely going to be working Boston hours, so 6:30am-3pm Denver time. Will that early dismissal give me a big boost on Fridays if I am heading out to stay at the mountains for a weekend? Or does everybody have the same idea as me and there's already traffic at that time?



Is this a concern for reaching certain ski areas, or all ski areas in general? I'm used to winter driving over here but at the end of the day I am still driving my humble Camry.
I pick my daughter up from school at 3:30 on Friday and head out to the mountains Traffic is fine.

Your Camry is fine but get a set of winter tires. This is for all ski areas. There are times when snow tires or AWD are required on I-70. Camry is FWD, right?
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
8,045 posts, read 5,846,296 times
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If you want an urban area with skiing check out Salt Lake City. The city runs buses up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird. I have flown out and skied an hour after landing. That is impossible in Denver.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA, USA
7 posts, read 5,270 times
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Camry is FWD. I guess an upgrade from all-seasons to snows is in order. When this thing dies I'm going for an AWD but not yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashj007 View Post
If you want an urban area with skiing check out Salt Lake City. The city runs buses up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird. I have flown out and skied an hour after landing. That is impossible in Denver.
SLC is one city I considered very highly. For work reasons Denver makes the most sense at the moment.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:05 PM
 
2,530 posts, read 1,608,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0cu5 View Post
Camry is FWD. I guess an upgrade from all-seasons to snows is in order. When this thing dies I'm going for an AWD but not yet.



SLC is one city I considered very highly. For work reasons Denver makes the most sense at the moment.
Reno, Sacramento areas are also good for skiing too.
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