With plenty of snow, cold temperatures and hilly terrain, Summit County drivers are better than most when it comes to winter driving.
Steamboat Springs actually has a winter driving course where they teach people how to drive in icy conditions. Summit County does not have that type of course, but I personally have relied on three sure things for the 22 years I have lived in Colorado. One is my 4 wheel drive Subaru ( I am driving my 5th one right now) and the second is my Nokian tires. Also known as Hakkapeliitta, (or maybe Hakka would be easier!) they are a tire that was developed in Scandanavia, made of softer rubber and with siped tread. What is "siped"? The tire tread has little wavy slits or grooves cut into it, which spreads the tire tread out over the road better and gives better traction.
I discovered the Nokian tires a number of years ago when I went into Meadow Creek Tire in Frisco to replace my tires before winter. I decided that the Scandanavians should know what they are doing, and went with the recommendation, and now I will not drive a car up here in the winter without them. My last new Subaru I bought in November, and it came with Bridgestone performance tires which I promptly took off and replaced with Nokian Hakkas so that I would have good tires for winter.
So what is my attraction to Subaru? I have never liked driving a big car. I tried an SUV once, several years ago, and sold it after about 18 months and went back to a Suby. The Subaru handles wonderfully in winter weather, and without a high center of gravity, I don't have to worry about rolling it as I drive through Ten Mile Canyon, which can be very icy! I get 28 to 30 miles a gallon, so it is economical, reliable and a workhorse. For those who like an SUV, they now have the Tribeca, but smaller is better as far as I am concerned.
My third tip for winter driving is just to take it easy. No fast starts on icy roads and no quick stops. People often pass me in terrible conditons while driving on an icy road, but they are the same people I drive past as they are trying to get out of a snowbank in the median or worse yet, on their roof on the side of the road. You can drive a decent speed if the visibility allows, but 70 mph is way to fast for icy conditions. 55 or less will usually get you there safely on I-70. Now if we can just get all the truckers to chain up and keep I-70 open, we will be in good shape!
Winter driving photo courtesy of Flickr.com