The Carson Pass route is by no means faster than the freeway route. It's winding and slow in spots, but there isn't very much traffic, either, although what there was rapidly collected behind Old Slowcoach here. I did my best to pull out where I could to let everyone else go by, as I'm not a fast driver on this kind of road and my minivan isn't the sort of nimble vehicle for hugging mountain curves, either. But it was a pretty drive. I reckon flick would have despaired of all the conifers, but being a Mountain Boy from a bit farther north in the Sierras than Kit Carson Pass, I was bred to that sort of environment. There were some stunning views, too, although I couldn't really pay too much attention to them or else I'd drive off of some rather scary cliffs.
Anyway, total travel time with a couple of bathroom stops and a meal break at Lathrop was about seven and a half hours. I definitely won't be going that way in the winter, through. The only reason I can think of going up that way in snow times would be to go to Kirkwood Ski Resort, which I'm unlikely to ever do, as the last time I snow skied was at Mammoth Mountain in my second year of high school.