Berthoud Pass in Winter

Trailhead condition requests, questions, alerts, etc.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby FOBP » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:42 pm

The above advice is sound. Downshift into a lower gear and stay off your brakes as much as possible. Try to maintain a steady speed and remember that tires always have more traction under acceleration than under braking.

The thing about Berthoud Pass is that it's just as dangerous in June as it is in January. No matter how you slice it, the grades and switchbacks are some of the steepest and slickest in Colorado.

Lots of weather-related links on the resource page at
Last edited by FOBP on Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby thuja » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:03 pm

Drive faster than you think uphill, slower than you think downhill. Driving too slowly uphill just gets you stuck and everybody else behind you- you have more traction when driving (not braking) and when going uphill, gravity is your friend. If you can, find a wide stretch of road with no cars (and no ditches) and practice sliding a bit, just to get the feel of how your car behaves in case something goes wrong.
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby Papillon » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:02 pm

thuja wrote:Drive faster than you think uphill, slower than you think downhill.

I'd also like to add that it is unwise to "air guitar" while driving down a snow-covered dirt road in a Honda Civic. I made this mistake a few weeks ago above Alma. Still don't know how the car stopped before the trees.
The look in his eyes when it hit - Kid, it was tasty... - William Seward Burroughs
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Re: Berthoud Pass in Winter

Postby ontopoftheworld » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:23 pm

My wife and I drive to WP all time to ski in the winter. You will be 100% fine with a front wheel drive car. We take our '02 Chevy Malibu most of the time. 5 times a year, we drive a 15 passenger, front wheel drive van up there with no problems. We've never had to change plans due to the weather or pass conditions.

schumi248 wrote: As for backup plan, keep driving on I-70 to silverthorne, take CO-9 north to US-40 in Kremmling, and take 40 east to fraser.

That's probably not much of a backup plan. If Berthoud is snowed under, that route probably won't be much better by the time you drive all that way around. Either way you're going up high over the continental divide. My backup plan would be to find a place to stay as close to Berthoud as possible. Idaho Springs might be your best bet, but they have a couple of places in Empire. If it were just me and the wife, we'd probably bring some sleeping bags and sleep in the car. If the pass closes (which it does from time to time), it's just a matter of time before they get it cleared and re-open it. I've never seen it take more than 24 hours, and it's usually much less than that. Keep in mind that the chance of it closing on a beautiful day due to avalanche is just as high as it closing because of a snowstorm.

Hope that helps.

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