We’ve had a lot to think about the past week after spending a few days at the mountain resort town of Breckenridge, CO. A more down to earth ski resort town, you can expect one of the best winter experiences in the Rockies. During our stay in Breck, we experienced the first drop of snow in the area. And I’m not talking about sprinkles of snow. We experienced a few inches of snow, with temperatures hovering just over 30ºF. As we drove along I-70, we witnessed flashes of fog, snow storms, wet/icy pavement, and low visibility.As many of our readers are looking to experience exploring famous ski resorts like Breckenridge, Aspen, and Vail (just to name a few), we believe that Winter preparedness is vital. See the tips we recommend, whether you are a winter sport veteran or it’s your first winter season. It could save your life!
Q. Do I need a Four-wheel drive vehicle?
- Not necessarily. Tire traction is the most important. There are snow tires that you can purchase, but most of the time all-season tires will suffice. Rentals should have all weather tires especially near a winter destination. If you live somewhere where storms can bring a foot or two of snow at once, you should definitely be running winter tires, not all-season tires (Find out how to choose snow tires). Before the snow starts falling, get your air pressure checked and make sure your tire tread’s are in proper condition.
- NEVER slam your brakes or else your steering and wheels will lock. Remember to pump, pump, pump! And stay at a controllable speed.
- Lastly, driving in winter conditions will greatly vary. You can lose control of your vehicle if you drive over black ice (frozen road) and traction between your tires and road with snow present, can cause you to lose total control of your vehicle even at slow speeds. Drive below the speed limit. Also, stay to the furthest right lanes if you are uncomfortable, as to be careful of steep inclines and declines. Don’t be like those Subaru drivers who think they are invincible!
Q. When are snow chains required?
- This is normal when you go through a two lane road at high elevation in places such as Loveland, Monarch, or Wolf Creek Pass. But this can happen anywhere on I-70 or US Highway 285.
- We recommend always having cables or chains that fit the dimensions of your tires. For a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the chains should go on the front tires. For rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the chains should be applied to the rear wheels. See the DMV website for more information. Also, you shouldn’t drive faster than 30 mph with your chains or cables.
Q. What do I do when my car gets stuck?
- Lessschwab.com recommends these simple tips to prepare for when your car gets stuck in snow. This includes having a snow shovel, chains, cardboard, and even kitty litter!
- If you don’t have any of these and you’re caught in a storm, don’t panic. Put on your flashers. Call a local tow company or if your insurance is USAA or AAA - call them for an emergency tow.
Don’t believe me? Read this article on the state’s most dangerous road - Wolf Creek Pass.