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Snow Tire Shootout

Bruce Smith November 11, 2012


Colorado’s frigid temps and pristine snow conditions make the perfect proving ground to pit three top-selling pickup snow tires tread-to-tread


By Bruce W. Smith

(Photos by the author and Larry D. Walton)

Deep snowdrifts, a white dust blowing sideways across a silvery sheen of pavement, plow-shod pickups, and a single-digit temperature readout on the dash inches from my gloved hands left little doubt we were definitely in the right place when it came to testing snow tires.

Winston de Wardt drew the short straw as the primary tire changer while Bridgestone’s Adam Kaempf gave a helping hand during the pit stops.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, is a snow-lover’s paradise in the middle of the winter; snow-laden winter storms are plentiful, the scenery breathtaking, and hospitality first-class.

Those attributes make it an ideal location to see first-hand how factory all-season pickup tires stack up against dedicated snow treads when subjected to some serious testing on the Center for Driving Sciences’ .9-mile road course at the 77-acre Bridgestone Winter Driving School (; 800.WHY.SKID) just outside of town.

We point the nose of our 2011 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab off the paved country road and make our way up a narrow plowed lane.

At the crest of the hill, we are greeted by Gordon Speck, one of the school’s gatekeepers who motions us to park at a large tent that makes up the core of this seasonal test facility.

Just beyond the makeshift office/classroom lies a trio of road courses carefully carved out of deep snow, covering what would be a beautiful, sprawling hillside farm pasture during the summer.

Let the fun begin.


Bridgestone’s Winter Driving School is renowned for educating and honing drivers of all skill levels faced with piloting vehicles over roads blanketed with white and ice.

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