With winter season right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about fun-filled excursions to your favorite mountain. For my family it’s Vail Resorts in Colorado. Whether you choose to stay at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, or Vail, it’s essential to remember the two most important items when planning a skiing or snowboarding getaway: warm clothing and reliable transportation.

When looking for the reliable transportation component, drivers tend to overlook the most important factor when it comes to winter driving: SNOW TIRES. Without snow tires, even the most rugged four-wheel drive vehicle will be subject to poor traction control. Turning and braking on snowy or icy conditions without the proper winter tires will simply defeat the purpose of a car designed to handle extreme conditions. The perfect car for snow and mountain vacations will blend comfort, safety, all-wheel or four-wheel drive, and of course great tires…so make sure whatever you buy/rent/borrow or drive is wearing some good snow shoes.

Mountain snow driving vehicles
The best mountain snow vehicle is the one with the best combination of safety, capability, and tires

Once you add winter tires to your list of things to gather before setting off on your vacation, it’s time to choose the right car that will take you, as well as your family and friends, to that special snowy mountain spot. Here are the top five vehicles for the mountains and snow this year:

1 – Subaru Forrester

All-wheel drive vehicles perform better in winter conditions, and Subaru has redefined all-wheel technology in its Outback and Forrester models. The Forrester’s interior is spacious enough to accommodate five passengers and luggage. While the all-wheel is a standard feature, you can always upgrade to the Forrester 2.5XT, which has a turbocharged and gas-friendly 4-cylinder engine pumping out 224 horsepower.

2 – Volvo XC70 T6 and the S60

Volvo has always distinguished itself as a safety-conscious manufacturer. Whether you choose the Volvo SC70 SUV or the S60 sedan, you can be sure to get to your ski resort and back home safely even during a blizzard. The SC70 comes with standard anti-lock brakes, downhill control and heated rear-view mirrors, but drivers have the option of adding heated front and rear seats, windshield washer nozzles that spray warm water, and even headlight washers. The stylish S60 features a 6-speed automatic transmission with Instant Traction on an all-wheel drive package. The S60 also comes with a detection system that warns drivers of pedestrians or animals suddenly appearing in front of the car and even brakes automatically in case of emergency.

3 – Toyota Land Cruiser

The Land Cruiser has always been considered an all-terrain and all-weather vehicle, but the new edition of Toyota’s flagship luxury SUV goes all out with the ingenuous Crawl Control. When Crawl Control is activated during difficult weather conditions, the Land Cruiser assumes smart control of the braking and acceleration functions. Fog lamps, a heated side mirror and a windshield defroster are standard features.

4 – Range Rover Sport Supercharged

Land Rover is destined to become a benchmark for staying warm on the road this winter with its 2011 Supercharged SUV. The cold weather climate option heats everything inside the car, the front seats, the rear seats, the floorboards, and even the steering wheel. If that wasn’t enough, the windshield and washer nozzles are also heated.

5 – BMW 535Xi Sports Wagon

BMW does not make SUVs, they make outstanding vehicles with ample passengers and cargo space that handle like sports car. With its powerful 6-cylinder 3.0L engine and smart all-wheel traction, the 535Xi is a wonder of German auto engineering. Automatic load-leveling is a feature that prevents over-steering even in winter rally or blizzard conditions. Front and second row heated seats are optional, as well as the side-view mirrors and the steering wheel.

Winter driving snow-covered car
Isn't winter driving great?

About The Author: When Josey Wales is not writing about traveling, he’s researching condo rentals in search of the best lodging deals in Vail.

About The Author