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  1. Default Vegas to Denver late December early January


    I'm a Brit living on the East COast and planning my first trip out West. Having never been to the Rockies before, especially not in winter, I'm looking for some advice.

    My wife and I are spending Christmas in Vegas then heading out in a rental SUV flying out of Denver about a fortnight later. We would like to spend a few days skiing in Colorado before we leave so have about 10 nights to spend en route.

    General thoughts were that it would be good to head to the South rim the Grand Canyon, cut up to Utah towards Moab to see Arches and Canyonlands and then head toward skiing. Inthepory we could see a bit of route 66 on the way too! I would like your helpful thoughts on the following:
    - Routes given likely snowy conditions at that time of year and how often the main routes become impassable at that time of year?
    - Likelihood of getting an AWD SUV and ways to make sure - currently have a mid-sized SUV booked with Thrifty picked up in Vegas
    - What equipment would be mandatory as we head up to the mountains e.g. snow chains etc. and how would we best get them?
    - How limited our experience of the Utah parks might be if there is snow everywhere - can you still get in and hike to the main sights?
    - Which Colorado ski resorts would you recommend - we are competent skiiers but not advanced
    - Any other hints, tips or recommendations based on the information provided

    I have driven round the Alps in winter in a front wheel drive hatchback that handled as though on slicks, so know how scary it can be in heavy snow if you're not prepared.

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The major routes should remain clear barring any extreme snow conditions. The Interstates are generally very well maintained and kept up in all but the most fierce of snowstorms.

    As for snow chains, many retailers sell them. Your best bet would be to acquire a set and learn how to use them before you need them. In some areas in the West, you will not be allowed passage on some roads unless you are equipped with snow chains (meaning on the vehicle). This is not because you will be stuck on the road - this is because the local authorities have told you to turn around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I researched the Colorado chain laws - noncommercial 4 wheel drive vehicles are not required to use chains, but when the chain signs are up, you must engage 4 wheel drive if the pavement is not bare.

    Utah's chain law requires either snow tires or chains. However, the odds of the requirement being in place where you will be are pretty slim.

    If you want chains, ask Thrifty if they can rent a set with the vehicle. If not, and you still want them, you can buy them at Walmarts in snow areas. Light duty "cable" chains should be sufficient. If you only have one pair, I'd put them on the rear. There is a possibility you might be able to rent a SUV with true snow tires.

  4. Default

    Thanks both, very helpful.

    I'll give Thrifty a(nother) call. I did ring once to ask if they could guarantee AWD but the answer seemed to be no, but that booking an SUV would improve my chances. I fear that the bulk of cars available in Vegas will not be with snow in mind...

    At worst then we go to wal-mart and grab some chains. Should be fine fitting them, we've done the same in Europe a number of times (and embarrasingly enough my wife is far better at it than me!)

    So that gets rid of my fears about not being able to get from A to B.

    Now who can recommend a ski resort, or comment on the viability of hiking in Utah in early January?!

    Thanks again.


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