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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The other advantage of Luxembourg is incredibly cheap fuel
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hull to Rotterdam p&o for us, noisy booze cruise for Amsterdam revellers but for us ear plugs and an early night, then bash it down via Brussels, Aachen and the Rhine to Bregenz and into Austria. Used to travel overnight but dangerous in winter, seen too many bad crashes over the years, mostly Belgium and France roads in bad weather....and whilst it’s quicker you’re knackered on arrival so the idea of a proper days skiing is somewhat compromised.

Hints - fill up in Germany not on autobahn but in local towns, much cheaper. Be careful on Brussels Ring, we’ve been chased by French plate old bangers with dodgy looking folk inside....telling us to move over with fake looking police ID’s...,bandits. Just floored it instead. Seriously - once in summer once winter.

Also watch out for speed traps in Germany in roadworks, and also Austria autobahn speed limits strictly enforced.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sat 6-10-18 16:50; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Jonny996 wrote:
DaveD wrote:
I go via Luxembourg and avoid the French tolls ....

That must add 3+ hours onto your journey, surely?


Yes but as I said I do come from Up North..and I was never going to do it in one day anyway..and it also saves €160 in tolls which I feel is worth the extra few hours....and as I am never in a rush it doesn't matter...I can usually get to Luxembourg before I stop so it gets me half way
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Markymark29 wrote:
Used to travel overnight but dangerous in winter, seen too many bad crashes over the years, mostly Belgium and France roads in bad weather....and whilst it’s quicker you’re knackered on arrival so the idea of a proper days skiing is somewhat compromised.


Good point - I've also seen some truly horrendous accidents at night in France and have been uncomfortably close to being involved. Now I live 'up north' and retired I'm happy to take two days for the journey.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Did anyone do a detour via Strasbourg for Christmas Market?

We are considering doing a 2 day stop there and then early Saturday start to push for Chatel
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Here's my pro tip: Take proper tire chains, but stop and buy snow socks along the way. I can tell from bitter, long experience that mounting the socks at an aire de chainage is 100x easier than chains. Keep the chains, because frankly they work better and the socks can get chewed up very fast, especially if you drive for even a k or two on clear roads. Nonetheless, we drove up the Col d'Aravis using only the socks during a serious blizzard (maybe 2015?)
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Oleski, There is a great Christmas market at Montroux, on route to Chatel, and they have a special train that goes up the mountain to see Father Christmas (assuming you have kids of that age). We are making a trip mid December especially to visit Santa!!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
And on the 1 vs 2 day. have done both, much nicer to do 2 unless the weather is absolutely clear and you can pass Paris ahead or behind of any mobs. But you won't know about the weather till just before hand, so maybe reserve a room just in case and cancel if you don't need it...
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Rather than fit chains in the open, if you can find a petrol station that's shut fit them under the canopy.
Not just ordinary gloves but Marigold type gloves for sensitivity, a sheet of cardboard or bit of carpet to kneel on (keeps your trousers dry), something similar to a washing up bowl to put the chains in when taking them off.
Fill the whole wash bottle (don't just top it up) with -20 screen wash.
A soft brush (dustpan type) for clearing snow off the windows/roof.
When driving and you see a sign referring to “contrôle automatique” there is likely to be a speed camera. My Garmin flags up a warning about “dangerous road segment” with a speed limit.
French rules require that the triangle and hi-viz are within reach of the driver whilst at the wheel - not in the boot!
I agree with the comment about Hull-Zeebrugge - start driving at 08:30 or so after a night’s kip and breakfast. And to really do it in comfort make the next night somewhere like Albertville, or Moûtiers (Aime or Bourg will probably be more expensive)

Lastly, do LED headlights get warm enough to melt snow? If not, be prepared to stop every so often to clear them!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Nemisis wrote:
Rather than fit chains in the open, if you can find a petrol station that's shut fit them under the canopy.
Not just ordinary gloves but Marigold type gloves for sensitivity, a sheet of cardboard or bit of carpet to kneel on (keeps your trousers dry), something similar to a washing up bowl to put the chains in when taking them off.
Fill the whole wash bottle (don't just top it up) with -20 screen wash.
A soft brush (dustpan type) for clearing snow off the windows/roof.
When driving and you see a sign referring to “contrôle automatique” there is likely to be a speed camera. My Garmin flags up a warning about “dangerous road segment” with a speed limit.
French rules require that the triangle and hi-viz are within reach of the driver whilst at the wheel - not in the boot!
I agree with the comment about Hull-Zeebrugge - start driving at 08:30 or so after a night’s kip and breakfast. And to really do it in comfort make the next night somewhere like Albertville, or Moûtiers (Aime or Bourg will probably be more expensive)

Lastly, do LED headlights get warm enough to melt snow? If not, be prepared to stop every so often to clear them!


I totally agree with all that ..but just a note .I bought a brush from Aldi on a longer stick with a scraper on the other end ..came in very useful and Halfrauds sell the low temp screenwash ..not everyone does and I have been searching the ferries for January and have noticed how much the standard Dover/Calais costs have increased and so I am about to book the Hull /Rotterdam which has not been inflated ..I aim to get to Kempten on a trip to the Dolomites. ..and I didn't know you had to keep the triangle in the car ..thanks
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Wilko's also have low temp screen wash (pink) in at just over a £1 a bottle - much cheaper than the online stuff I bought last time.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
DaveD wrote:
Jonny996 wrote:
DaveD wrote:
I go via Luxembourg and avoid the French tolls ....

That must add 3+ hours onto your journey, surely?


Yes but as I said I do come from Up North..and I was never going to do it in one day anyway..and it also saves €160 in tolls which I feel is worth the extra few hours....and as I am never in a rush it doesn't matter...I can usually get to Luxembourg before I stop so it gets me half way


I drive from North Wales to Austria a lot and going through Lux there are some smaller roads on the way down to Stuttgart and Munich that can get hit by bad weather and slow you down. I've sometimes taken the route higher through Belgium via Frankfurt and Nuremberg and the differnce is only about 20 mins and about 20 miles longer than the Stuttgart route. It all depends on the traffic.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Nemisis wrote:
French rules require that the triangle and hi-viz are within reach of the driver whilst at the wheel - not in the boot!

Only the hi-viz vest in reach of the driver is a French rule. The warning triangle is a Swiss rule. Though I have to say that in all the cars I've rented from Geneva over the years I cannot once recall any car having a triangle inside the car rather than the boot.

Worth a bump for a Crit Air sticker if you're going to the French Alps in your own car. All of Isere and the Savoie are now signed up to the scheme so if you're trying to get up the Tarentaise on half-term weekend there's every chance of it being declared a pollution leak.

Buy one here: https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/en/

UK V5 forms don't have Euro emissions classifications on them (Euro 4, Euro 5 etc.). So if your car has a better rating than its age implies, fill the form in with the correct Euro rating and attach a photo of your chassis plate or build plate (usually under the hood or on the driver's door pillar) which should display the classification. Worked for me to get the correct certificate issued - my 2009 diesel is an early Euro 5 so gets Crit Air 2 and will not be subject to sanctions for many years. Madeye-Smiley
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Whitegold, Is the Waze app pretty good then? I have it on my Kenwood dab stereo in my van.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If it's really cold - i.e. -15C or so - mountain diesel probably wont work, as we discovered a couple of years ago in Samoens. Night-time temps were <-20C, and the whole valley was full of broken down diesels as the fuel still freezes. Luckily we had some diesel additive so the car would (reluctantly!) start after 5 or 6 goes at warming the glow plugs. Also bear in mind that unless your battery is in tip-top condition it won't have the oomph to turn the engine at these temps.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Leonard Smalls, That is one of the reasons I have a petrol car. The lowest temperature that I saw on the car thermometer was -30C, still started fine.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
CRIT AIR - be aware of scam sites!

"Please be aware of scams : some sites offer air quality certificates at a higher rate than the one set by the regulations (as a reminder, it costs €3.11 plus postage)."
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Is it safe to add additive to mountain diesel or should it only be added to normal?
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
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I mostly break the journey as it makes it more pleasant, normally try to find a nice restaurant and cheap hotel near a motorway junction somewhere in the vicinity of Lyon. Not much benefit going further, hotels get harder. Then, the next morning you have a pleasant saunter up the mountain in 2 - 3 hours getting in before the hordes in time to have a beer with lunch.

On your return, get your @rse up and get off the mountain. Early. I always try to leave by 6, leave it later and everything slows down. From most of the Savoie and thereabouts, you can hit the shuttle by 16:00 without problems.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Ozboy,
Using the recommended quantities you can add to any diesel fuel. BUT it must be put in the tank immediately before fuelling - basically the additive needs to be diluted by fuel which is above 0 centigrade and there needs to be a mixing action (such as that caused by adding fuel to the tank) it's no good putting it into a nearly full tank 'cos it will not mix.
When I ran older diesels (i.e. without common-rail injection such as early Golfs, Mk3 or Mk 4 Escorts) putting 2 litres of petrol in the tank to every 40 of diesel worked very well. DO NOT DO THIS WITH MODERN DIESELS.
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There's an interim range where the diesel hasn't frozen but it's really difficult to ignite at those low temps.

This is what you are trying to do by giving it a number of cycles of the glowplug facility in trying to raise the temperature of the combustion chamber to promote starting.

When emergency response get this scenario the first thing they do is to spray some ea-z-start into the air intake. This is more volatile and usually it'll get them to fire and get the fuel burning without further difficulty. It's worth carrying an aerosol can of it to self rescue if you get this scenario.
It'll usually show as while smoke from the exhaust when you're trying to start it, this confirms that the diesel is being injected but not burnt so it puffs it out in a white cloud.
Frozen diesel, you get nothing happening at all.

If you are parked outside for a week in low temps, try to start it on Thursday then you can get assistance if you need it on Friday if you're leaving Saturday. Most garages are closed weekend in France so you'll only get emergency cover and may have to wait for it if demand is high.
If it starts then, run it for 30 mins to recharge battery, it'll also cycle the fuel round it's own system during use so will give a conditioning effect to the whole tank of fuel.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
When I had ropy old petrol cars I would use WD40 in place of ea-z-start. Carrying a can of this has multiple uses rather than just one. I guess it would work with modern diesels as well?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I haven't tried it with WD but I understand it's the ether in eze that remains aromatic (liberates into ambient air) at low temps which improves it's flash point properties and so makes the engine start. Once you get combustion in the cylinder it'll burn diesel without issue.

The modern diesels may keep the glow plugs running even after starting to reduce unburnt fuel making poor emissions at start up, particularly at low ambient temps.

Mixing the fuel. Virtually all diesels from something like the 1990s use fuel pump delivering pressure to the injectors that has a return to the tank for excess. This means that they'll all mix tank contents effectively during running, you don't have to do anything special. The fuel return comes out warm from the engine and during low temps it may also cycle this in a shortened loop via the fuel filter assembly straight back into the engine, so it gets a pre-warmed supply to the injectors.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I live 4 hours from the tunnel and do all the driving so have an overnight stop, usually near Troyes on the way down.
B&B hotel opp Leclerc filling station with restaurant attached was 40 euro last year and provided a good break and yards from the main autoroute.
if its been raining or heavy traffic, the break is a big bonus and I don't mind losing a bit of skiing to get there safely without being stressed out when I get there

The toll tag does have an annual charge but that's not much. We use ATMB as they were cheaper than Sanef and it comes with 2 mounting kits. In the summer I used a big motorway muncher and winter is a landrover so the business part of the tag just moves across. I've been stuck in the queues too many times so pay the beeper fees and see it as a saving.

The chains we used before where Thule K Summit which took about a minute a tyre to fit after I had a few tries at home.
The only issue we had was they went into the tread gap at some points so a long heavy screwdriver was needed to lever them out when removing
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Leonard Smalls, I've seen Russian truck drivers light a fire with a couple of broken up pallets under the engine to warm things up.....

Note: This does not count as official advice! Toofy Grin
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
My diesel froze in 2017 in Campitello and I had filled up in Bourg and Verona ..my host said that they put the additive in in the mountains but not lower down ..last season used an additive 1ml /litre and started using it before I left the UK ..I had no problem at all ..maybe it was slightly warmer ..but I don't think its wort taking a chance...
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

I've seen Russian truck drivers light a fire with a couple of broken up pallets under the engine to warm things up.....

That's what my dad said he did when he drove lorries years ago.

Effectively that is what happened to my nepthew when the Venice filled diesel waxed up in the Dolomites. The garrage put a burner under the tank of the car. It worked.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Matt1959, @johnE, Isn't that where the word "chauffeur" comes from?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Clearly remember my Dad and his engineers dragging trays of burning rags around the Bus Depot and putting them underneath the busses in the 1960's to get them going on very cold mornings.
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