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Old 11-06-2012, 12:47 PM   #1
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Alberta to Phoenix in winter?

Any comments on weather and road conditions on I15 through Montana, Idaho and Utah in late January and February? I'll be towing a 5th wheel with a 2500 HD 4x4 and have chains available.

We regularly travel through BC to Vancouver any month of the year and periodically experience short term road closures of the Coquihalla, Ok connector and Rogers pass. Generally, the problems occur at elevations above 4500'. But the distances of those elevations are only 100-200 Km.

I used Google Earth to track the elevation from Helena Mt to St. George Ut. along hwy I15. It appears to be consistently above 5200' and frequently above 6400' for very very long distances.

Is this a trip that can USUALLY be made without significant delays, trauma and white knuckle events?

Please share any experiences.

Bob
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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i dont know about the conditions north on I 15 from Salt Lake, but South to St. George there are 2 places to watch out for, one is West of Nephi and one West of Fillmore. there is one south of Ceder City but it should be OK, it is farther South of the others.
most all High Ways are kept open in the winter with plowes and sand & salt.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:54 PM   #3
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This experience wasn't on I-15 but I think it is relevant ... we were on I-40 ... they were predicting a severe winter storm ... we headed for an RV park in Tucumcari, NM before we reached the storm ... I-40 was closed for about a day ... we stayed in the RV park for an extra half day after the road opened ... the road was clear, the sun was shining, and the wind was calm .... we continued on our way ...

I have travelled I-15 from San Diego to Salt Lake City ... I think you can travel I-15 without any difficulty if you watch the weather forecasts ... there are a couple of intermediate steep places near Cedar City, UT ...

All the states you are travelling through have good snow removal equipment ... and if there is a storm the roads will be in good shape soon after the storm passes ... and if you are approaching a storm head for an RV park ...

Unless you have a severe need to meet a deadline there is no need to travel I-15 on any day when you need chains ... if you wait a day you won't need them.
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:02 AM   #4
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"Unless you have a severe need to meet a deadline there is no need to travel I-15 on any day when you need chains ... if you wait a day you won't need them."

That's what I was hoping to hear. To travel on many mountain highways you are required to have snow tires (not all seasons) OR carry chains. With a 4x4 I prefer to carry the chains. If I actually needed them I'd pull over and wait it out as you suggest.

What about southern Utah? Would hwy 89 through Flagstaff, then I17 to Phoenix be relatively trouble free? Or would staying on I15 through Las Vegas be a better choice?

Bob
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #5
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It all depends on the weather ...

The elevation in Flagstaff is almost 7000 feet ... winter storms can close I-40 and I-17 ...

P.S. Winter storms can close almost any road ... one winter I-8 between Yuma, AZ and San Diego, CA was closed for one day on March 1 ... I know ... my travel from Yuma to San Diego was delayed for a day..
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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We have done I15 several times in mid January. First time low cloud from the Canadian border to southern Utah, 2nd year clear as a bell, third year rain, snow and wind. Never had to use chains but snow can pile up quick in the passes. Road crews in all states get at it promptly.
Keep a close eye on the weather systems, always drive to the conditions and stay put if need be.
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