Home > Blog > CO Blog > Why You Don’t Need a Rental Car in Colorado this Winter

Colorado is known for its great outdoors filled with beauty and adventure, especially during the holiday season. People travel from all over the world to check out Colorado’s world-class slopes and  enjoy the 300 days of sunshine. You may immediately think you need to rent a car to get to your holiday mountain destination, but think again! Traveling with a rental car in Colorado is usually more hassle than it’s worth. Here are a few reasons why:

Breckenridge resort

In-Town Transportation

All of our mountain resort towns are incredibly pedestrian-friendly! The majority of bars, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of the resorts. If you need to travel farther or need a break from walking, most of the towns also have free transportation options within city limits.

Breckenridge ski resort view from above

Breckenridge hosts the Breck FreeRide Bus for free transportation around town, with the free Summit Stage bus providing transportation throughout Summit County. The Vail Valley also has a free in-town bus service, along with an affordable bus line throughout Eagle County.

Parking Hassle

Navigating the charming mountain towns of Colorado can quickly turn into a parking headache when opting for a rental car. Limited parking spaces and high demand often lead to frustrating searches or high costs. A mountain shuttle eliminates this hassle, and door-to-door service allows you to bypass the parking quest, arriving right at your door or lodging. And with options for in-town transportation, getting around once there is easy.

view through windshield of car on snowy mountain road.

Winter Driving

Driving on snow and ice is dangerous, especially through Colorado’s mountains. Windy mountain passes and steep-grade hills may reap pretty views but lead to stressful and unsafe driving conditions. And you won’t be able to savor the views if you spend the entire drive with your eyes locked on the road and hands gripping the wheel!

We recommend staying up to date on Colorado road conditions through COtrip.org. COtrip offers information on road conditions and traffic along your specific route.

snowy and icy road, winter driving

Mountain driving in these conditions proves difficult for Colorado visitors and locals alike. If you have never driven snowy mountain roads, then we highly recommend choosing another transportation option even if your rental car does meet Colorado’s winter driving criteria, as outlined below.

Colorado Chain Laws

When driving in Colorado, you will also need to ensure your vehicle complies with Colorado traction and chain laws, in effect from September 1st to May 31st. Colorado’s chain law for passenger vehicles states that “all motorists are required to either have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, or (for two-wheel drive vehicles) snow tires or all-weather tires with a mud/snow designation.” All tires must also have a tread depth of at least 3/16″. If vehicles do not meet these requirements, they must carry and use snow chains. Drivers may be charged up to $500 for not meeting these requirements.

A car tire driving through the snow

Correct Tires

The choice of tires plays a significant role in winter driving, and it’s essential to consider the benefits of both studded and studless options. None of the major car rental companies offer snow tires, and you will likely be paying more for a vehicle with AWD/4WD.

Studded Tires: These are winter tires equipped with small metal studs nestled within the tread. These robust metal pieces are engineered to cut into ice, delivering enhanced traction on icy surfaces.

Studless Tires: On the other hand, stud-less tires leverage advancements in rubber compounding technologies to maintain flexibility in freezing temperatures. This increased rubber flexibility allows these tires to provide traction across various winter conditions, including snow, ice, wet, and dry surfaces.

snow tires

Sipes, the miniscule slits in the tread pattern, are another notable feature. These act as numerous biting edges on ice, aiding in acceleration, deceleration, and stopping. Studless winter tires typically boast deeper tread depths compared to summer or all-season tires, further enhancing their performance in challenging winter conditions. Understanding these tire features ensures you can make an informed choice for safer and more reliable winter driving.

At Peak 1 Express, we meticulously prepare our shuttles for winter driving, ensuring both our vehicles and drivers are ready to face winter conditions. Read more about our winterization procedures and practices to feel confident on your mountain drive.

Colorado Mountain Shuttle

Price Point

Because of Colorado’s traction and chain laws, you will need to rent an AWD/4WD, which likely comes in an SUV model. These rental vehicles are much more expensive than others and will add up over the course of your trip.

Rental Car Insurance

Rental car driving towards a mountain

Rental car insurance is also very expensive. It can add up to $30 a day to your bill! If you choose to use your own insurance and damage the rental car, you will be paying a large deductible, likely leading to increased rates in the long run.

Gas Prices

With the fluctuating and often-increasing price of gas, rental cars can also prove costly for your mountain trip. Instead, save money and skip the hassle of filling up your own tank with an airport shuttle.

Uber and Lyft are not common services in the mountains, and if they do exist, they will likely be expensive. Most mountain towns are around 2 hours from Denver International Airport, which prove to be an expensive Uber ride for travelers looking for transportation. Because of the free transportation around town, there is not much of a need for these services.

An Uber driver in a brown sweater

Convenient Mountain Shuttles

With our airport to mountain shuttles from Denver International Airport to Summit County and Vail Valley, mountain travel has never been easier. Peak 1 Express will meet you at the Denver International Airport and take you to your favorite ski resort or mountain destination. A mountain shuttle will remove the stress of driving through the snow and holiday traffic yourself, so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

You will also save time pouring over maps or planning your route to the mountains. Our drivers undertake the route to the mountains multiple times per day and are skilled in efficiently navigating the road. Additionally, our extensive shuttle schedule allows us to run as many shuttles as possible and keeps you from waiting around at the airport in or rental car lines.

Vail Mountain Shuttle

Easy Group Transportation

Unlike rental cars, which can be cramped or lack enough seating for your entire party, our shuttles seat up to 14 with a 3 bag allowance per passenger. We offer private charter transportation between DIA and EGE (Eagle Airport), so your group can ride comfortably all together to your destination or special event.

Sustainable Travel

Choosing a mountain shuttle for your travel needs not only ensures a stress-free journey through scenic landscapes but also contributes to sustainable and eco-friendly travel. By opting for shared transportation, you reduce the overall carbon footprint associated with individual car travel. Their shared nature promotes responsible resource utilization, making them a green choice for environmentally conscious travelers seeking to minimize their impact on the beautiful mountainous regions they explore.

Peak 1 Express Van in front of Breckenridge Mountain

Ditch the hassle and stress of a rental car, and leave the snowy highways to our professional, experienced drivers! We can’t wait to see you on board and ensure your holiday mountain vacation gets off to a smooth start. Book your airport shuttle and ride stress free into your mountain vacation.