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Old 09-18-2009, 10:09 PM
 
56 posts, read 172,491 times
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Hello all.

I am a recent transplant to Denver from Phoenix and this will be my first winter in Colorado. I purchased a season ski pass to Copper/WinterPark and have a few questions about the commute to each resort.

I have a 2wd truck (I know, I know) that I will be driving to get me to the slopes. I purchased what is called a 'truck bladder' that is essentially a heavy duty water bed that goes into the back of my truck, gets filled with water and strapped down, and freezes in the winter to give me ~400 pounds of weight over my rear wheels. I am hoping this, along with good AT tires will allow me to fare well while driving.

Anyways, my main question is, how are the roads while getting to the resorts? Are they right off the highway? Are they up a steep incline? Well maintained? Do they tend to get icy during the winter time or do they salt them sufficiently?

I have talked to a few people about the actual highway driving on I-70 into the mountains who say that as long as I take it slow when the weather is bad then I should be fine using caution and common sense. Would you all agree?

My main concern, having 2wd, is the driving in and around the resorts in bad weather.

Thanks for any input you can give!
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:12 AM
 
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I'm curious about this too. We will be going on vacation to copper in Jan. and will be renting a car. Have been wondering how the drive will be. Escpecially since none of us have ever driven in snow.
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Old 09-19-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Copper (blech) is right off of I-70. The road is well maintained and heavily travelled. There are some common choke points. At Floyd hill you lose a lane at the crest and this seems to confuse a good portion of people, further along there is a tunnel right before Idaho Springs where for some unknown reason people feel it necessary to slow down while driving through. After Georgetown traffic can back up going over the divide and through the Eisenhower tunnel.

Winter Park requires a trip over Berthoud pass off of Highway 40. They have made the road 2 lanes in the uphill direction on both sides now which is nice, but you will still find yourself stuck behind a long line of cars and trucks at some point coming down.

You will be fine in your truck if you have good tires, preferably snow tires.

Weekend days see a lot of traffic. Expect to sit in it after 8AM headed towards the resorts and from 2-5PM headed back.
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Old 09-19-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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You didn't mention what your "two-wheel drive" truck is ...

There's a big difference in the handling of a 3/4 ton diesel or a 1/2 ton gas or one of the Ford Ranger sized little pick-ups ....

If you're driving one of the larger pick-ups, I'd be putting a lot more than 400 lbs in the back end for traction. Our Ranger with the 3-liter V6 handled well with a few hundred pounds of sand in the back end, although you'll encounter times when a set of cable chains may be desirable. Better to run "LT" (light truck) rated M&S tires than P-metric radials which are really car tires, not truck tires.

"Black Ice" forms on the roads, and they don't use a lot of salt out here ... DOT depends primarily upon natural snowmelt, sunshine, and road plows to clear the road, and they add a sprinkling of gravel for traction in various places, but not a lot (think broken windshields).

The drive to either ski area is heavily traveled, which can contribute to the rapid formation of hard pack snow (a pretty good driving surface), but then it's an opportunity for the black ice surface to form with the traffic or sunshine on the road to melt the top layer, which refreezes into a very slick surface.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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Thanks for the info.

I have a 2005 Dodge Ram 1/2 ton, gas truck.

I have Cooper Zeon LTZ all-terrain tires (which I have heard handle well in the snow from multiple people with the same truck)
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Overall the conditions are pretty decent but there will be patches of slick spots. Just give plenty of distance and you should be fine.
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Old 09-23-2009, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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I had a 2wd truck a few years ago and it was horrible. It was even worse than RWD cars for slippery driving. If I were to be taking frequent trips up to the ski resort, I wouldn't use it. I'd find alternate means of transportation.
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Old 09-23-2009, 08:40 PM
 
56 posts, read 172,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
I had a 2wd truck a few years ago and it was horrible. It was even worse than RWD cars for slippery driving. If I were to be taking frequent trips up to the ski resort, I wouldn't use it. I'd find alternate means of transportation.
I was hoping I didnt read something like this, but I would be lying if I said I did not expect to. I am tied at the moment to get a new vehicle, so hopefully the 400+ pounds in my bed, along with driving carefully and smart will work out ok.

Which park would you all say is MORE accessible between Copper and Winterpark during bad weather?

Thanks
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Has anyone ever used the in-town free shuttle that WinterPark provides in order to get to the ski resort?

http://ww2.skiwinterpark.com/maps/shuttle_shedule_0809.pdf (broken link)

I am wondering if it would be better to park in town and ride this thing. Would it lessen the risk of not having 4wd?
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:13 AM
 
1,176 posts, read 4,037,493 times
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Quote:
I was hoping I didnt read something like this, but I would be lying if I said I did not expect to.
Good tires and prudent driving are all you need. Yes, you are going to have some terrible drivers and people with old and worn tires tell you how terrible things can be -- and they are if you can't drive and have the wrong gear.

What exactly do you think everyone did 30 years ago when most cars were rear wheel drive and 4 wheel drive made up 5 percent of the market? Stay at home?

Get some chains just in case. Learn how to put them on BEFORE you need to use them on a nice sunny day.
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