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Old 02-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Driving to Copper from DEN at night?

My husband and I are heading out to CO next week, and we're staying one weeknight in a condo at Copper Mountain before heading up to Fort Collins to visit family. It's a short visit, but I'll take one day of snowboarding in CO over several days here on the ice coast!

We were wondering what to expect as far as the drive goes from the DEN airport to Copper Mountain resort? How is the drive at night? (By the time we get our luggage and rental car/SUV, it will be about 8pm.) I know everything depends on the weather and it's impossible to predict, but assuming it's not a blizzard, is the drive crazy at night? I'm trying to decide if we should go straight there from the airport (we don't have the condo booked for that night, but it's available), or if we should just plan to stay in a hotel in case the roads are closed?

One other option is that we could also potentially change our flight to get in earlier and make the drive during the day if you feel like it's not a good idea at night? I know people do it, but we're not used to mountain driving. Crazy city traffic, yes.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It will be chill, take about 2 hours. Nightime traffic is only an issue on Fri nights as people head up for the weekend. You can get screwed on this route any day of the year (truck rolls in tunnel, on Georgetown hill, etc), so just put cotrip.org on your smartphone and watch the weather.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I-70 is a critical commercial route so it will be fine condition wise. I've driven to Front Range (and beyond) from Denver on Friday nights anywhere from 6PM to 1AM and never have seen much traffic. I think a lot of people drive up Saturday morning. If you've never driven the route, just be aware there are some steeper grades so keep an eye on your speed. I've never gotten a ticket but I probably should have, just from negligence.

It's not tight, narrow winding roads, it's a 4 lane (6 lane in some areas) interstate. You'll be fine at night.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Be alert of deer? Be alert of the fucking Elk! A deer will be an inconvenience, an Elk will ruin your trip. Every so often a season the Elk decide they want to cross I70 and it becomes a blood bath. I've seen some very gross Elk carnage on the highway. The Stretch from the Morrison Exit to the top of Floyd Hill is where you want to be alert for this. Deer are a road bump in comparison...
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ya it's elephant sized deers out here....

In all seriousness though, you'll be fine. I run all of these roads at night and more critter collisions are happening on I-25 between Denver and Colorado Springs then anywhere that I've seen.

For the last few years I've been part of companies that do a lot of night driving and the only guys that have hit critters have been on I-25 including me. I hit some sort of smaller critter that damaged the bottom fairing of my semi.

Another guy hit 2 elephant deer in 3 days in between denver and the springs.

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Old 02-28-2012, 06:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ive driven there through the worst of snowstorms just fine.. if its bad enough, they will close I70 to clean it up but usually open it back after a few hours. I wouldnt worry too much about the drive to be honest..
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses, everyone! That's a huge help. We'll take it easy, but it sounds like it's not so bad. (And I didn't even think about the scenic drive - I do love that. Thankfully we'll get to see it on the way out.) I'll report back after the trip. So excited!
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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...and on a side note, Copper just had 12inches of fresh today!
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Old 02-29-2012, 11:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How to save 100 Bucks. Have your relative get a fill-up at a shell station. Have them get a receipt and take it to the cashier and request a ski voucher. This voucher is a buy-one-get-one for Copper and a few other resorts. Enjoy.
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