Living at High Elevation
Prepare for Winter in the mountains. Elevation brings with it a whole host of weather issues, from plunging temperatures at night to fog, sudden downpours of rain or blizzard conditions. If you move to a mountain town, expect strong winds, plenty of snow, and extreme conditions during every month of the year.
Difficult Weather Conditions
When you move to the mountain towns be prepared for rugged terrain. Roads can be very unpredictable, especially during the winter. It’s not uncommon for mountain towns to be cut off from the outside world for weeks at a time if the snowfall is heavy enough. Before moving to a mountain town, prepare physically and mentally for the fact that you may not be able to leave your house for several days at a time. If you do decide to move to the mountains, make sure that you’ve got adequate food supplies to keep you going, should the local store close.
Winterize Your Vehicle
Prepare for Winter in the Mountains by studying your route in advance. Be aware of any high mountain passes and directions you’ll need to follow. And wipe any snow off your windshield, windows and lights prior to driving.
It’s the natural instinct to hit the brakes to help slow your vehicle. When you are driving in the harsh weather of a Colorado winter, hitting the brakes can often just make things worse.
Also, invest in a 4WD or AWD vehicle equipped with snow tires to make mountain driving as safe as possible. Just because it’s a 4×4 vehicle, it’s no good without proper tires. Winter tires, tires with a mud and snow designation or tires with an all-weather rating by the manufacturer with a 3/16″ tread are acceptable.
Winterizing Your Home
Make sure your water heater is operational. If repairs need to be made, it is better to have them done now than to need professional help on a powder day.
Dirty filters can cause poor or slow circulation of air in your home, so take steps to change dirty furnace filters.
Pipes and Spigots
Use heat tape or insulated tape to wrap exposed pipes and spigots or hose bibs to prevent freezing and cracked pipes. Unless you want to dig it up and replace it in the spring, turning off and draining your irrigation system is a must for winterizing your home.
To shovel or not to shovel?
For many locals, shoveling is an art form. Some people will not drive on their driveway until it has been shoveled. Some people simply shovel when it’s convenient. Trust me, you will regret doing the latter. When you buy a home in the mountains, do yourself a huge favor and invest in a snowblower, a few shovels, and an ice chopper. By shoveling as soon as possible, you will bypass the inevitable ice rink that will develop on your driveway. If you wait even 24 hours it’s too late. Remember, your driveway is only one of the places you need to keep free of snow. Look up. Your roof and decks may need some attention too. If all of this is too much to bear, there are companies that can do this or you! When in doubt, ask your realtor or your neighbors.