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Surviving Denver’s Wacky Winter Weather

Whenever I tell someone I am from Denver, I am usually met with questions about snow and the cold. Despite what many believe, Denver is not a giant snowstorm 365 days out of the year.

In a city with over 300 days of sunshine, the snowstorms are often hyped, but the weather can certainly be wacky, especially in the winter. It might be 65 and sunny one day and the next day only highs of 30 and deep snow.

For travelers, Denver can be a nightmare city to plan for, but it doesn’t need to be. Take it from a local and you can survive all of the snow or sunshine and still keep your travel plans intact.

Try to Avoid Early Morning or Late Night Flights to Denver: If a storm is pending, early morning flights to Denver are the first to be cancelled or delayed. You could go to bed with mild weather and wake up to a blizzard and a snarky email from the airlines that your flight has been canceled. If you are going to fly to and from Denver, try to plan on arriving or departing in the middle of the day. Also, as winter storms build, night flights can be hit or miss in and out of Denver.

Utilize Travel Waivers: It seems like Denver is usually on the list of travel waivers by airlines. If a storm is well predicted, the airlines will issue travel waivers for select dates so that you can either fly in or out of Denver before or after the storm. Rather than waiting out the storm, using a travel waiver for Denver is always a good idea. Even if the storm isn’t as powerful as the local media would like, you can either extend your vacation or get home early.

Pack According To The Layer System: Winters in Denver are about as unpredictable as Tebow’s passes. The snow, ice and cold are not always the Mile High City’s reality. Most of the time sunshine is on Denver’s shoulders. Travelers visiting Denver should always pack according to the layer system. Bring clothes that can be easily layered on top of each other. Many travelers come to Denver expecting snow and cold and seldom actually get it.

Rent Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles: If you are renting a car while in Denver for the winter, make sure you get a four-wheel drive vehicle. Even if snow isn’t in the forecast, the mountains are just screaming beyond the city limits, just waiting to be conquered. If Denver is hit with a storm, your wheels won’t be more akin to ice skates.

Load Up On Moisturizer: A trip to Denver is usually hampered by dry skin. The dry climate doesn’t do wonders for anyone’s beauty routine. Travelers coming from warmer, more humid climates are in for a shock in Denver when their lips start to crack like concrete and their skin peels like paint. Bring loads of moisturizers and chaps sticks if you are planning on visiting Denver. You wouldn’t want a peeled face and cracking lips to ruin that business meeting or weekend getaway.

CC Flickr photo credit: Felipe Fortes

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About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.

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