A photo to answer the question:

Do I need Four Wheel Drive rental car to drive from the Bozeman Airport to Big Sky in the winter? Yes.

Photo of Bozeman Airport in Snow storm
The Bozeman Airport, 2/28/19 10:00 am.

 

This photo was taken while exiting the Bozeman Airport, from the car. The foreground is the road. The next 50+ miles to Big Sky will be worse. Please be safe and make sure you either have a rental car with 4WD or AWD and good tires, or your transportation company/ UBER/ LYFT has 4WD or AWD with good tires. Safety is a necessity in these condition!

The Rumor Mill – 2-wd SUVs at BZN

Driving to Big Sky 4wd
Fox New’s Brett Baier got in a bad accident driving back from Big Sky to BZN.

Not all rental SUVs are created equal

To all readers out there planning on renting a car at the Bozeman Airport; we have heard multiple complaints about folks renting a “Premium SUV” class vehicle and upon going outside to pick up the vehicle, found them to be 2wd (rear wheel drive) Chevrolet Suburbans – with California plates.

It sounds like a couple of the franchises moved some vehicles up for the Big Sky winter rental car rush from California- and clearly did not think that making sure they were 4wd was important.

You need 4wd in the winter to get to Big Sky.

NOT COOL! There is simply nothing more dangerous than a 3-ton, rear-wheel-drive SUV, on snowy/ icey winter roads, with factory summer tires, most likely being driven by someone from Alabama (no offence to the Southerners out there- you guys just rarely drive in snow!). Not cool for the others on the road, and not cool planning on transporting your family to Big Sky. That road can be super dangerous in the winter.

Conclusions:

  • Before your drive away from the BZN rental car lot- make sure your rental SUV has 4wd.

  • Check the tread depth of your tires. You should have at least 3/8″ from the top of tread to the tire. Less than 1/4″ and things can get really squirelly.

  • Safety first! We want everyone to have a safe trip to Big Sky. If you have issues with any aspect of the safety of your rental car, bring it up with the car rental agency!