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Mountain Driving with FWD

Hi all, This question is about snow tire options. I have a new to me 1999 Mazda Protoge with FWD. I live in Bulder Colorado, but i just relocated from the Vail, CO area in the rocky mountains. I plan on making the trip back at least twice a month this season, a 2 hour drive about a 2,000 ft altitude gain on windy mountain roads often in pretty inclement weather, though they are still fairly well traveled and well maintained on most days. I have sand bags and tire chains but now i am trying to decide my best option for snow tires. I am torn between really good snow tires and tire studs. Knowing that I commute too/from work every day (it’s only about 5 miles) but also 1-2 hours to get to snow 2x a month, will they wear down and not be worth it? is it worth the decrease in MPG and damage to roads (I already get really good MPG, so I’m not super worried about some decrease in that dept.)? Should I just go for some great snow tires skinnier than my normal tires, if so which ones? I am more worried about ice than deep snow, should I go for studs?

If you are going to use these tires on good roads for your daily commute, then no studs. There is some new technology in studless snow tires that you should look into.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSearchResults.jsp?tireIndex=0&autoMake=Mazda&autoYear=1999&autoModel=Protege+DX&autoModClar=&width=185/&ratio=65&diameter=14&sortCode=33900&skipOver=true&minSpeedRating=S&minLoadRating=S&tab=All