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Utah Car Rental and Winter Tyres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I will be staying in Salt Lake City January 2018 and plan to hire a car to get me from SLC to the resorts each day ( Alta, Snowbird and a few others ).

I have seen various reports of snowchain/winterTyre/4x4 requirements during bad weather. However, when i saw this page ( https://www.udot.utah.gov/main/f?p=100:pg:0:::1:T,V:1673,75783 ) it made me think a bit.

Trouble is, with most car hire companies it doesn't seem that you can specify winter tyres when hiring a car.

The only place that comes close is Rugged Rentals where they can guarantee 4WD/AWD and 'all-season' tyres but don't allow snowchains to be fitted ( and UDOT say 'all season' not good enough ).

It is true to say that these UDOT restrictions are only applied in 'severe weather' but, given i'm going to Utah for lots of snow, thats what i'm expecting.

Questions ....

- Would a better approach to just get a normal car and use the ski bus in bad conditions ?

- Are these strict rules specified by UDOT actually applied in practice ( eg ive read elsewhere that a 4x4 is ok even without winter tyres )

- Does anyone know of a rental company that can supplies vehicles with winter tyres and can guarantee we will get one ??

Thanks,

skint
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just rent a 4x4, they will have all seasons and I have not had a problem getting to alta. The road is more an avalanche issue, versus crazy switchback driving. Although use caution and bail early if it looks like a blizzard is blowing in while you are already up in the canyon. Little cottonwood is incredibly well maintained and often opens late after a storm for road work. I have never been stopped going up or coming down, nor have i ever seen anyone putting chains on.

The road to park city is much less hairy, as is big cottonwood canyon, so its more of a little cottonwood issue. If you are concerned, you can take the public bus into the canyons. I recall that there is parking by the bus stop a few miles from the mouth of little cottonwood. Although i have never taken it.

https://www.rideuta.com/-/media/Files/Ski-Service/2016_2017_simpified_SkiSchedule.ashx?la=en
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I have been sking this area for some years now always staying in SLC and renting a regular car. I have had to take the bus up to Alta twice when the roads were bad. A policeman directed me into the bus car park as the chain up lights were flashing.

The alternative is to ski Canyons which is not a bad idea on a powder day as it will be MUCH less crowded. Very easy road access to Canyons from SLC via Parley's Canyon which is a mountain pass but gets lots of attention from the snow ploughs.
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Its either or. Either chains or snow tires. 4x4 needs to have a minimum of snow tyres on the driving wheels. there is no requirement to fit chains on snow tyres. snow tires use a compound and tread pattern specifically for snow/ice/mud. I'd go with Rugged Rentals if they are offering to fit snow tires, as it a lot easier. But remember they help increase traction, when driving appropriately, they do not make the vehicle invincible.

If you decide to use any of the other rental companies, you will need to become proficient at fitting snow chains, and hire them separately with the rental company.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
thanks for the help so far ..... looks like i may have to go with Rugged Rentals 4WD + All-season tyres ..... hopefully the police won't throw the book at me for not having winter tyres fitted .....
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skint wrote:
thanks for the help so far ..... looks like i may have to go with Rugged Rentals 4WD + All-season tyres ..... hopefully the police won't throw the book at me for not having winter tyres fitted .....


They wont - as the requirements are - 4x4 or chains. We've been here plenty of times and always just rent a 4x4 - you will be fine. Driven some hair raising moments too - blizzard in Parleys at midnight with semi trucks jack knifing all over the place, and folks sliding off the road. Just make sure they don't try and give you a 2WD SUV !!

They are used to plenty of folks renting out there so don't worry - on a powder day all the sheriff does is check the type of vehicle going up the canyon, and if they have chains. They don't have time to check the tyres wink

Have fun and leave some snow for us later in the year.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I rented a AWD SUV (category Q4 or something) from Hertz in January this year, it came with All Season M+S (mud and snow, not mountain and snowflake tyres) - Pirelli Scorpion ATR from memory, no issues driving up to Canyons/Park City or anywhere else.

We got pretty lucky with the weather as there was loads of snow while we were there - spent a weekend in Moab and was lucky enough to see snow in Arches national park. The drive back got 'fun' - lots of snow in Price and the ploughs hadn't been out so we couldn't see the road markings! Going over the mountain pass to Provo was slow going but no real issues.

Admittedly we didn't head up LCC due to having an epic pass but AWD with all seasons did better than I expected.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@driz, is "couldn't see the road markings" an indicator of a lot of snow? Puzzled
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Yes, the law says “snow tires” which includes M+S tires. Any current, normal all season tire is an M+S tire,so legally you are good with AWD. Of course, we all know that there is more to it than the law though.
As far as I know, no one rents cars with actual snow tires (with the mountain/snowflake symbol).

Note that big rental places won’t guarantee you get AWD, even on SUV’s.

AWDrentals does, and they have been very nice to work with when I went last year, super helpful, convenient and gave me a good rate on a bigger car when the smaller one I wanted was rented out.
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It is worth noting that companies like Alamo specifically forbid the use of chains on their rental cars. The all weather tires they offer are not much cop and even on 4 wd vehicles getting up that access road is iffy

Utah laws require that 4 wd vehicles have snow tires on the front if the chain up lights are flashing. All weather tires will not cut it. I have seen them checking tires ate the bottom when conditions are bad.

I am not sure what tire compound the ski buses run on but they get up to Alta even in the worst conditions. So if the chain up lights are flashing park the rental in the car park at the bottom of LCC BCC and take the bus. It is free with a liftpass.
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TQA wrote:
Utah laws require.. snow tires... if the chain up lights are flashing.All-weather tires will not cut it I have seen them checking.

This is incorrect. As I mentioned above, the “snow tire” requirement includes “M+S” tires, which is all modern all-season tires(so no high performance summer tires). Here is the page directly from the UDOT site:

https://www.udot.utah.gov/main/f?p=100:pg:0:::1:T,V:1673,75783

I personally do not believe that M+S are winter snow tires, and run true “mountain snowflake” winter tires (Blizzak WS70 and Conti Extreme WinterContact) on my own cars, but that’s the law...

TQA wrote:
It is worth noting that companies like Alamo specifically forbid the use of chains on their rental cars. The all weather tires they offer are not much cop and even on 4 wd vehicles getting up that access road is iffy.
Not just Alamo, every company I checked forbade it.

I would say, with good all season tires and AWD, you should make it up just fine most of the time. If the road is so bad that going is a problem, even with AWD, then going down will be super dangerous. AWD doesn’t help on the descent...


TQA wrote:

I am not sure what tire compound the ski buses run on but they get up to Alta even in the worst conditions. So if the chain up lights are flashing park the rental in the car park at the bottom of LCC BCC and take the bus. It is free with a liftpass.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
This is an old post and I don't know why it was bumped.

In general US snow tyre/chain requirements are all over the place and rental agencies at best unhelpful (I have had SUVs that turned out only to be the lookalikey 2x4 version). A lot of the US advice is pretty conservative too which basically amounts to you will die if you don't have a 4x4 with snow tires (which curiously rental agencies cannot guarantee). Because when I tend to do a longish trip when I'm over there this approach isn't particularly economically sensible I tend to rent a midsize FWD and then check the tires to check I have a decent M+S pattern (often some of the newer Hankooks and the like have a mountain snowflake )or reject the vehicle/pick from the row. I then back it up with some cable chains for emergencies and am prepared to take the bus/hitch on the really big days. This is pretty easy in SLC
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

This is an old post and I don't know why it was bumped.

It was bumped by a new user Slim

(I know, that's who but not why, but you can guess the why based on that being a new user)
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