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Driving from Denver to Steamboat Springs in Winter

Has anyone made the aforementioned drive through snow? Scheduling a ski trip and they really try to put the fear of God into you about the drive so that you opt for the shuttle. I’ve driven through a blizzard or two in upstate New York, as well as through 1.5 feet of snow up to Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire and was pretty comfortable doing it. Watching some of the videos of Rabbit Ears Pass it doesn’t really look much worse than what I’ve driven through in the Northeast. Any thoughts?

I’ve done Denver to Aspen and back in a snow storm. I’m not sure how different the ride to Steamboat is, but if it’s all highway like the ride to Aspen was, I was fine with a background of NE winter driving. As usual, it was the other drivers that had me most worried.

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Thanks, I kinda figured it would have been similar. My brother-in-law (and my wife) are paranoid of driving it but I’m pretty sure I can handle it. Our rental car company does allow chains and we were planning to buy a set on our way out of Denver.

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Pack as if you’ll have to do some winter camping because that just might be what you’ll have to do. Having years of experience of blizzard driving and especially up in the white mountains here, I’d say if you have 4w drive, chains, and a lick of common sense you will be fine.


That was sort of what I was thinking. The roads I saw for the CO drive (major highways) look a little less dangerous than the fucked up pass coming up from North Conway to Wildcat in the White Mountains. I think we got 17" of snow overnight the one day we were up there. I’m just hoping the Emerald Aisle in DIA is kind to me and I can find a 4WD with decent tires. In NH I had the advantage of having my own truck that I’m used to.

When I used to drive I would go 100 miles out of way to avoid driving I 70 across Colorado…lol


If you have snow tires and at least front wheel drive you’ll be fine 99.9 percent of the time. The only thing that could really stop you is snow so deep your vehicle rides up onto it. That won’t happen though because you will be on highway with traffic.

For the other .1 percent of the time, have winter clothes, gloves, boots etc. Chains, shovel. A broom is a nice luxury for getting snow off your truck quick.

Make sure your wiper fluid is full with subzero wiper fluid. Treat your windshield with RainX before leaving. One of the worst things is wet sticky snow caking on you wipers and glass. Most likely, going thru CO the snow will be light and fluffy so you won’t have to worry about that.

Most importantly, HAVE FUN ON THE SLOPES!

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I’ll second what @theBeth said. You’re going skiing, so you’ll have winter clothes, but it’s also smart to pack food, water (a gallon per person), and sleeping bags or blankets and pillows for everyone, in case you get stranded in snow for a day or two.

For winter traveling, I’m of the mindset it’s better to have something and not need it (an extra layer of thick wool or synthetic clothes, sleeping gear) than to get caught in a blizzard and need extra clothes and food but not have them.


They are pretty good at keeping everything plowed, especially the resort roads. Obviously you can’t control a blizzard and they will close the roads if deemed unsafe. The worst that would happen is that you could get stranded on the highway with dozens of other cars and no way to turnaround. Its happened to people I know. Hell, once they closed the road to DIA and those people slept in their cars that night.

Edit: CDOT has highway webcams that will let you know what’s out there.

Thanks everyone for the input. Unfortunately the tour company just cancelled the trip… One week before we were supposed to go