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Snow tyres or No Snow tyres... a salutory lesson ...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@tangowaggon, Iím pretty sure no ice. Had been raining and turned to snow but not that cold...

On 10m... thatís to landing point which is at least 3m below takeoff, it was a good 1m distant from the 1.5 m ramp, 5m of car so count 2.5m making a rough 8m minimum.

Seemed like more.

Happy to be wrong.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Courchevel - dead easy landing despite the need for additional category certification:


http://youtube.com/v/8-AUS0Xryik
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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?
@under a new name, you were there so have a better idea than me - and to be fair they are pretty solid cars - either way they were very lucky to walk away
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I'm going to wade in on this one in support of @under a new name, I know this hill very well, if you were driving on fresh slush on summer tires you would immediately slide down hill after your second wheel had broached the top of the slope.
The road above is almost flat and may give no indication that your grip is completely inadequate.
In the vehicle concerned you are going to crash, it may have been possible for a very skilled/brave/luck drive to reduce things but you would still crash.
In a lighter, say traditional small french car I have seen someone save their situation, but they did end up exiting the road fast enough that without pure luck there being no one to hit there would have been fatalities.
There has been many calls to have there road designated residents only, one way etc, but due to it's location none of these would work. It's also quite a rat run, in as much as it's a way for locals to get round the blocked up roundabout ahead.
On the next hill over the main Brevent one I have more than once been climbing the hill (winter tires and snowchains) and had to take evasive action to avoid oncoming traffic which had no intention of being oncoming traffic , just had lost traction and were now decending backwards at the will of gravity. With 2 lanes and pavements there is some room to hide a transfer van from the falling merc or delivery truck. Both occasions that I remember were ended with a loud crash as the vehicle concerned smashed into the roundabout/parked cars/wall outside the Gendarmerie residence!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As for tire choice, anyone entering the mountains on summer tires at any time of year is an idiot IMHO. My own summer tires are all seasons with more snow grip than is possible on snowtires adorning most new SUV's (low profile tires are useless off a smooth surface regardless of what they are made of)
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If someone is incompetent they shouldn't be behind the wheel, irrespective of road conditions, end of. If they are competent and driving in winter conditions they should have appropriate tyres, ie winter tyres or going down hill they are running additional risk (to themselves and others) and are likely going to be a slide case, going uphill they will likely become a hazard and block the road as they lose traction. They may get away with it on a few occasions but eventually they'll come a cropper.

One of the principle reasons I avoid driving into the French Alps and head east where the drivers get properly geared up and its law to have winter tyres, I've seen plenty of bambis coming down the hill on way up the 3V, and EK in the 90's one who came across the road and rode the barrier on my side to slow down, I drove around them and carried on, idiots.

@Alastair, What do you and others like minded do in the small minority (opposite to vast majortity) of occasions when a bit more care isn't enough, give it a go, or stay home, I hope the latter for everyone else's sake.
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Alastair wrote:
davidof wrote:
Alastair wrote:
. To keep the relevance, try Courchevel - easy to land on but extra care is sensible.


Have you landed at Courchevel?


With an instructor sitting next to me only - I don't have the rating.


Excellent, well done. I wouldn't even fancy being a passenger.
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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!
Markymark29 wrote:

@Alastair, What do you and others like minded do in the small minority (opposite to vast majortity) of occasions when a bit more care isn't enough, give it a go, or stay home, I hope the latter for everyone else's sake.


If snow chains won't do it then I wait for better conditions.

Now I'm living in the Alps in the winters I may consider a 4WD for my next car. My current car is relatively low slung and beaches itself on the ramps in the covered car parking in Les Arcs. rolling eyes
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under a new name wrote:
@tangowaggon, Iím pretty sure no ice. Had been raining and turned to snow but not that cold...

On 10m... thatís to landing point which is at least 3m below takeoff, it was a good 1m distant from the 1.5 m ramp, 5m of car so count 2.5m making a rough 8m minimum.

Seemed like more.

Happy to be wrong.


Ah so 10 meters horizontal. I thought you meant 10 meters vertical!! Makes more sense now.
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I'm amazed that winter tyres aren't mandatory in the French Alps. No wonder we hear tales of blocked road chaos and 6 hour+ airport transfers. I realise many ski area access roads there are very different to here which makes it seem all the more nonsensical that winter tyres are not mandatory. What's the situation in Switzerland and Italy? Just so that I know whether to avoid driving to either place in winter in the future.
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I wrote a long post a couple of days ago listing my driving experience and quals and ergo why I should be listened to, but it sounded pompous so I deleted it.

It boiled down to this:

If I'm driving past a local school one frosty (never mind snowy) morning in Chx and a dopey kid on a screen, with earbuds in, steps right out in front of me (despite all my appropriate caution) I'm less likely to kill him/her with winters on than summers. Full stop, fact. That's only one of the reasons I run them Nov through April, but it's good enough all on its own.
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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.
@queenie pretty please, mandatory in CH in winter, dunno about Italy tbh (maybe not from the Lambo I once saw in a massive walking pace slide in Courmayeur).
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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
But they had the snow button in so a landie is unstoppable... Ah, I see what I did there...
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@queenie pretty please, same as CH-land, mandatory in Austria and Germany. Should be same in UK imo but our government (like the French) could never implement it (too much procrastination and red-tape) and also could never enforce it, our government is too busy sorting out Brex-poo-poo, applying sticking plasters to our broken NHS, and other crisis management to worry about (or notice) the fact that Beast From the East wiped billions off our UK plc bottom line this last winter.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

mandatory in CH in winter,
and you will get spot checked. I wouldn't get home most days without winter tyres, I do live at the end of a very steep lane though.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My understanding is that the ę†Special Equipment†Ľ limits I.e. 4x4 + Winters, or chains for the Haute S. and Savoie are being moved to the limits of the regions to avoid more Snowmaggedons.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@under a new name, After the Sallanche Marie had a melt down in Dec/Jan? Twisted Evil
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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?
I drove down to Val D'Isere on 12th Jan in my month old company car - new BMW 5 Series Saloon with factory tyres (no option with the lease company to change them). I'd been moritoring the weather somwhat obsessively for the week before we travelled, due to the potential conditions of the road up from Bourg and the fact it kept getting closed due to the heavy snowfall. I was hell-bent on getting down there to do the mountain road whilst it was still light and we had a breeze of a drive down from the tunnel and headed up the valley at 4:30pm. I had two sets of chains in the car ready to go on front and rear if needed, and it was well laden with 4 hefty-ish blokes, cases and a top box with skis and boots. My adrenaline was pumping as I headed up, expecting the worst round every bend and fully expecting to need the chains. We got to about 1km from La Daille where there was compacted snow and grit on the road for the first time, and we continued carefully, ready to stop at any point to get the chains on. We got all the way up into Val and round the back for the Alpina Lodge underground car park with no problems. On the way home we left at 7am on the following Saturday, again ready to use the chains but again got down with no problems.
Not trying to make a point more of an obseration of my own personal experience. I have to say the job the commune had done in clearing and treating the roads was unbeleivable and yes I would have been more comfortable with winter tyres, but careful driving in a notorious RWD car got the job done OK. I wouldn't have liked to be doing anything any steeper though!
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@dunc999,
Quote:

no option with the lease company to change them


I bought a set of spare wheels and winter tyres for my company car and swap them over just before/ after I go/ return, cost me c.£800 but if I keep my car 4 years and do 8 trips (i'll do more) I reckon its worth £100 a trip to be on winter rubber, plus you'll get 50% of that back after 4 years via selling on via fleebay so its £50 a trip. Worth thinking about i'd suggest, looks like you were pretty lucky.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Markymark29, some company cars don't allow the "modification" - madness
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@dunc999, you were lucky. Some do not live to tell their stories.... so anecdotal evidence is not very telling. It was stupid decision you took car to Val in January on summer tyres
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
midgetbiker wrote:
@queenie pretty please, mandatory in CH in winter, du


I wish that were true but nothing is worse than trying to drive around Geneva or Lausanne with 2cm of snow on the road.
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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!
@midgetbiker, the prefecture have been trying to put it in place for some years but had a few legal challenges...
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Alastair wrote:
Now I'm living in the Alps in the winters I may consider a 4WD for my next car. My current car is relatively low slung and beaches itself on the ramps in the covered car parking in Les Arcs. rolling eyes
That's odd. Given your opinion on Winter tyres, expressed further up this thread, why would you waste significantly more money on 4WD when it has demonstrably less impact than changing tyres?

eg.

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA
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admin wrote:
Alastair wrote:
Now I'm living in the Alps in the winters I may consider a 4WD for my next car. My current car is relatively low slung and beaches itself on the ramps in the covered car parking in Les Arcs. rolling eyes
That's odd. Given your opinion on Winter tyres, expressed further up this thread, why would you waste significantly more money on 4WD when it has demonstrably less impact than changing tyres?

eg.

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA


I'm really thinking about an SUV for the ground clearance in the car park. Winter tyres certainly won't help with this! Toofy Grin
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Quote:
anyone entering the mountains on summer tires at any time of year is an idiot IMHO...†

Pretty much nails it.
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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.
mooney058 wrote:
@dunc999, you were lucky. Some do not live to tell their stories.... so anecdotal evidence is not very telling. It was stupid decision you took car to Val in January on summer tyres


I did have 2 sets of chains and was well versed in using them if required.
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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
@dunc999, the moment when you realise you needed to fit the chains is when the car is sideways and sliding backwards towards a cliff. Donít be a dick. Argue with the leasing company. Get your company to complain about their policy. If they wonít shift, hire a car with winter tyres, or change the tyres anyway and challenge them to prove that it is not an approved BMW fit. If they pay you enough to give you a new 5 series, you can afford it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Alastair wrote:
admin wrote:
Alastair wrote:
Now I'm living in the Alps in the winters I may consider a 4WD for my next car. My current car is relatively low slung and beaches itself on the ramps in the covered car parking in Les Arcs. rolling eyes
That's odd. Given your opinion on Winter tyres, expressed further up this thread, why would you waste significantly more money on 4WD when it has demonstrably less impact than changing tyres?

eg.

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA


I'm really thinking about an SUV for the ground clearance in the car park. Winter tyres certainly won't help with this! Toofy Grin


In reality a 4wd can get you in a lot more trouble than 2wd
With 2wd you lose traction earlier and take appropriate action such as fitting chains. With 2wd you have 2wd traction and 4wd braking ie you lose traction before losing braking, the ability to go is lost before the ability to stop.

With 4wd, you don't lose traction as soon, so you plough on till you lose traction but you lose braking at the same time, you lose the ability to stop when it's too late.

Losing the ability to go is irritating, losing the ability to stop can be lethal.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
tangowaggon wrote:
Alastair wrote:
admin wrote:
Alastair wrote:
Now I'm living in the Alps in the winters I may consider a 4WD for my next car. My current car is relatively low slung and beaches itself on the ramps in the covered car parking in Les Arcs. rolling eyes
That's odd. Given your opinion on Winter tyres, expressed further up this thread, why would you waste significantly more money on 4WD when it has demonstrably less impact than changing tyres?

eg.

http://youtube.com/v/mfuE00qdhLA


I'm really thinking about an SUV for the ground clearance in the car park. Winter tyres certainly won't help with this! Toofy Grin


In reality a 4wd can get you in a lot more trouble than 2wd
With 2wd you lose traction earlier and take appropriate action such as fitting chains. With 2wd you have 2wd traction and 4wd braking ie you lose traction before losing braking, the ability to go is lost before the ability to stop.

With 4wd, you don't lose traction as soon, so you plough on till you lose traction but you lose braking at the same time, you lose the ability to stop when it's too late.

Losing the ability to go is irritating, losing the ability to stop can be lethal.


I don't disagree with the sentiment of your argument, and totally see the point you are making (about plowing on in blissful ignorance).

In reality though the ability to engine brake on all four wheels is often a significant advantage on descents.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
midgetbiker wrote:
In reality though the ability to engine brake on all four wheels is often a significant advantage on descents.
That's certainly been my experience too
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I must say that itís apparent when my traction is getting questionable, no way would it feel safe to just plough on. But mine is probably not the most gnarly of 4*4s...
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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?
ousekjarr wrote:
@dunc999, the moment when you realise you needed to fit the chains is when the car is sideways and sliding backwards towards a cliff. Donít be a dick. Argue with the leasing company. Get your company to complain about their policy. If they wonít shift, hire a car with winter tyres, or change the tyres anyway and challenge them to prove that it is not an approved BMW fit. If they pay you enough to give you a new 5 series, you can afford it.


Fairly pointless people evangelising about recklessness when someone has demonstrated they took a bunch of reasonable and lawful measures. Without severe montiroing and punitive policing it is vanishingly unlikely that everyone will be on full snows in good condition so having a go at people who are reasonably prudent and have controlled teh variables they can control seems counterproductive.

I've rented lots of cars for winter trips in the US and Canada including a number from "snowy" airports such as Denver. Usually the best you can hope for is a decent M+S tyre, but often you might be allocated a Texas vehicle or whatever. Renting a 4WD isn't a panacea either despite rental agencies trying to frantically upsell . I had one SUV thet we only discovered was 2wd when trying to get over a mild snowy berm.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Bavaria and Austria manage it perfectly well. Setting out to drive to a ski resort in winter which is approached via roads which are frequently snowy and/or icy, almost always in temperatures below 7 degrees, on a gradient, and which feature hairpin bends is not something to be undertaken in a rear-wheel drive car with summer tyres and crossed fingers, chains in the boot or not. It's wilfully dumb, and all because it is "too much hassle" to change the tyres, or argue with the leasing company, or "too expensive" to get winter tyres for 6 months of the year - the same levels of idiocy are demonstrated when you see someone driving in a BMW or Mercedes with a phone clamped to their ear, despite the car having a full Bluetooth rig to avoid precisely that, and despite the law being clear that you cannot use a handheld phone while driving. In the UK, drivers want 19" wheels instead of the factory fit 16", and then wonder why tyres cost £500 per wheel rather than the £70 for the 16" version, and even if you explain that the bigger wheels are less fuel efficient, more noisy, give a poorer ride and so on, they still prefer the "my wheels are bigger than your wheels" mentality that they've been force fed by the car showrooms.

Most people are unfortunately either stupid or lazy or both. Those who argue against incontrovertible evidence are worse - they'll generally be found driving without a seatbelt, or protesting that they want to be able to ride their latest 140mph motorbike without a helmet and in a full replica Chelsea shirt and shorts with sandals, or driving the lads back from the pub after they've had 12 pints. All of those are now seen as stupid on a Darwinian level - and rejecting the readily-available option of better grip and better braking on a car should be seen in the same way.

For those who say it is pointless in the UK, it is not - the temperatures here are low enough to merit the change between about November and April, and this is not just for snow, as the benefit is based on the temperature rather than just the weather or road conditions. Winter tyres are better in the wet, better in the dry, better on muddy roads, better on icy roads, and better in snow. I live in the fens and used to commute 600 miles per week with a large proportion on untreated roads with ice and mud as regular challenges, and the difference was marked. I made it out of our village when others couldn't, and in to the office when locals were unable to get there. My car is an MPV with front-wheel drive, and runs winter tyres from the end of October to the end of April every year. At 30K miles per year, both summer and winter tyres were replaced every 18-24 months, as each did 15K per year. I can see that those living in London or Birmingham with no space to store a set of wheels probably can't justify them, but for much of the rest of the country it should be a no-brainer, and yet the apathy and inertia is huge.

@under a new name, you can tell when the traction is getting questionable in a 4x4 or indeed any car, but at that point you're already well beyond the point where braking is getting questionable.
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ousekjarr wrote:
.......Winter tyres are better in the wet, better in the dry, better on muddy roads, better on icy roads, and better in snow.


I'm an advocate of Winter tyres in the UK but I have to pick up on this point - the tests I've seen suggest Winters are not necessarily better in the wet, almost regardless of the temperature.

Here's test of Winter tyres which includes a Summer tyre for comparison - the Summer tyre is the best on the braking and handling tests in the wet and the dry
http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article/2017-Auto-Bild-Winter-Tyre-Test.htm
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@Red Leon, I've seen exactly the opposite in tests, so I would question the conditions in that test - it doesn't say whether they were testing the winter tyres for performance in the summer, or testing the summer tyre for performance in the winter. If you took a summer tyre at -5 and tested it against a winter tyre at -5, the winter tyre would perform better in all conditions because the rubber compound is softer and so the contact area is larger and the friction is higher. At 10 degrees, I would expect the summer tyre to perform marginally better because the compound is more suited to the temperature, and at 30 degrees I would expect the summer tyre to be significantly better because the winter tyre is then much too soft and loses its shape.

What it does show is the massive difference in handling and braking in snow - even the worst winter tyre stopped in less than half the distance of the summer tyre, and the summer tyre couldn't even get moving on the handling test.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

I'm amazed that winter tyres aren't mandatory in the French Alps.


Me to - I do wonder if they think that making them so may have a potentially disastrous impact on tourist number - as well as Brits, there are Dutch, Belgium and northern France drivers heading down.

Quote:

it should be a no-brainer, and yet the apathy and inertia is huge

@ousekjarr, don't disagree with any of your comments, but realistically for most of the UK in any given year there may be 1-day when you really really need winter tyres. This year was an exception! While they are undoubtedly safer in colder temps and wet - we're not crashing off the roads everytime there is a frost.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Given this is a snow/winter sports forum, I see why we would care about the summer performance of winter tyres.
Germany And austria both have winter tyre legislation. So I guess that there is a legitimate BMW option for drivers Very Happy

Seems to me that using summer tyres in winter particularly in snow/mountains increases the risk to the driver, their passangers, aswell as other road users, just how stupid or cheap can you be???
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Quote:

just how stupid or cheap can you be???


Unfortunately (maybe fortunately) hundreds of thousands of people manage to drive from UK, Holland, Belgium etc perfectly safely each year on their summer tyres. Unless the law changes you'll struggle to convince people to do otherwise.

As above would a change in law have an impact on tourist numbers?
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Yep, 'you can't cure stupid' Toofy Grin
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