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Driving to Alps checklists, tips, tricks etc

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Add a roll of loo paper to your list not all Aire de rests have paper and your wife will thank you

Your wife? Puzzled Do men wipe their @rse with a piece of grass and go away contented (as in days of old, when knights were bold, and paper wasn't invented)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Oleski, I find it's much faster through the night, if travelling in the day you usually have to leave so early sleep is limited anyway and then you can get into resort around 7am and get some extra ski time in.
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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?
CH1975 wrote:
Add a roll of loo paper to your list not all Aire de rests have paper and your wife will thank you.

Just a pack of tissues. A) it is less obvious than traipsing through the car park like a Andrex puppy, and b) you can also use the tissues up the mountain to either blow your nose or use in any small mountain hut that hasn’t replenished their loo roll stocks during the day.

Sailskibum wrote:
gardening mat and a cheap pair of pullover waterproof trousers and jacket. Makes kneeling/lying on the snow while putting on/taking off snow chains a lot easier.

This is what my old jackets and saloppettes go to do when they ‘die’.
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andy1234 wrote:

Anyone else taking a copy of the MOT certificate?


Having had quite a few chats with les flics, they invariably want your licence and once asked for proof of ownership, but not yet the MOT cert.

They invariably bother me if the number plate has 'fallen off', but have never questioned the lack of GB sticker or beam deflectors.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
One essential is is European Recovery or breakdown policy. From bitter experience make sure your policy includes vehicle repatriation and repatriation for you and passengers.
Ideally vehicle repatriation should be in its broken down state so it gets repaired in the UK.
Some manafacturers include European assist for free - Mercedes Benz do BMW Don’t. Jaguar do Land Rover dont, it’s a bit of a lottery!
Have a breakdown plan in the back of your mind. One occasion I had to book flights but they arranged a hire car to the airport and a car in the UK
On another occasion it was a hire car relay all the way home (hire cars not freely accessible in France on a Sunday nor can a French hire car be bought into the UK) Also imagine how much luggage you can carry - what will you risk leaving in your broken down car?
Luckily both my breakdowns where on the way back, elsewhere on here there is a horrendous story of a breakdown on the way and a ruined holiday.
Luckily I was self employed on both occasions so the extra days travel was not an issue
PS both cars arrived back in the UK with unexplained body damage - take photos of your broken down car before leaving it - you won’t see it again for between 2 to 6 weeks.
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@boredsurfin, BMW assistance in Continental Europe is included during the warranty period and can be extended. Not quite as good as Mercedes' "for the first 30 years of the vehicle's life", though.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Good trip from Herefordshire to Mozine 3 years ago/ Left 3:30am there for 19:30. Dry and clear but preparing for the worst again (winter tyres/chains/recovery etc) and hopefully we'll be lucky again.

Two small boys had (borrowed) DVD screens to watch and toll tag was other boon. Doing it again this new year but overnighting south of Troyes Sat as Sunday start date. Suspect it will actually seem a longer trip this time, setting off later in the morning and not just blitzing it in one go.
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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!
MHskier wrote:
Good trip from Herefordshire to Mozine 3 years ago/ Left 3:30am there for 19:30. Dry and clear but preparing for the worst again (winter tyres/chains/recovery etc) and hopefully we'll be lucky again.

Two small boys had (borrowed) DVD screens to watch and toll tag was other boon. Doing it again this new year but overnighting south of Troyes Sat as Sunday start date. Suspect it will actually seem a longer trip this time, setting off later in the morning and not just blitzing it in one go.


Doing thatevery year form other place in europe, but choosing overnigt stay near resort to get 2 extra skiing days and not tired on arrival. Very Happy Very Happy
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@boredsurfin, Land Rover similarly include European cover in the warranty period.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
When driving from oop North, don't forget to prepay for your Dartford crossings:

https://www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
altis wrote:
When driving from oop North, don't forget to prepay for your Dartford crossings:

Or take the M40 and round the south side of the M25.
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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.
Without reading the entire thread and also assuming you have kids/others who need entertaining, a set of portable DVD players for the headrests with headphones and a multi 12v splitter which delivers a continual charge to all sockets as some 12v splitters alternate pulses between each port.

Mine has four ports and two USB chargers, about £15 off Amazon.

Nappy sacks for general junk and baby wipes for sticky hands.
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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
I got free upgrade on Stena ferries to their premium lounge thing. I normally hate such things but it is so worth it. No school trips, lie down and nap seats and sofas, free coffees, fruit and and pastries. Very relaxing. I probably got enough free drinks and nibbles to cover the usual cost of it.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Why do you normally hate such things @cameronphillips2000?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
rjs wrote:
altis wrote:
When driving from oop North, don't forget to prepay for your Dartford crossings:

Or take the M40 and round the south side of the M25.


For most of us in the North, that is one massive detour to avoid a very small toll fee.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What do you lot do about tires? A set of winter tires for 1 trip is pretty expensive, and you have to do something with them over the summer. From [1] france requires them in the Alps, is this enforced? If you have them, do you need 4, or are 2 on the front of a FWD car OK?

[1] https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/winter-tyres-in-europe
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

tires

Do you mean tyres?
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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?
hughbedo wrote:
What do you lot do about tires? A set of winter tires for 1 trip is pretty expensive, and you have to do something with them over the summer. From [1] france requires them in the Alps, is this enforced? If you have them, do you need 4, or are 2 on the front of a FWD car OK?

[1] https://www.oponeo.co.uk/tyre-article/winter-tyres-in-europe

#1 That link is wrong winter tyres are not required in France even in the Alps. But when conditions require they will check for chains and turn you away if you don't have them.

#2 You seem to be under the impression winter tyres are only of assistance in the Alps. They are useful in all winter conditions - not just snow.

We have separate wheels with them on and they are stored stacked in the garage in the Summer, and the Summer tyres stored in the Winter.

All four wheels and tyres should be the same, whether Summer or Winter.
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hughbedo wrote:
What do you lot do about tires? A set of winter tires for 1 trip is pretty expensive, and you have to do something with them over the summer.


I just run them year round.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@hughbedo, AFAIK winters are not mandated in France (yet) but chains are when required.

You have three options in order of performance:

1. Summer tyres with chains / snow socks

2. one time swap of existing tyres to all-seasons (with snow and three peaks certification). You will also benefit from these in the U.K. winter.

http://youtube.com/v/RU4O3ulin80

3. Invest in a second set of tyres that are fill winter. You could also get wheels so there are pre-mounted and easier to swap over.

Best practice is to get 4 tyres.
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@hughbedo, depending on your car sometimes you can get a deal I think mine were around £600 including a full set of alloy wheels to go with them. Some main dealers are forced to stock them because they are a requirement in that cars home country (Germany, Austria etc. all require them as do many eastern European countries) and they struggle to sell them in this country.

They are definitely worth having whether or not it is snowing, they were brilliant during the beast from the east, but also stopped me from hitting a pedestrian who ran into the road in front of me on wet cold roads, had I been on summer tyres I am 99% certain I would not have been able to stop in time.

The biggest risk is probably that your stopping distance and control is so much better in cold temperatures than everyone else on summer tyres, even if they have a 4x4, especially if there is snow or ice, so you need to be careful not to get rear ended.

Of course they don't help you get around the traffic caused by those without the right vehicle, tyres, skill or common sense to avoid getting stuck.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks for all the responses. I shall bear them in mind, but the issue is that while £600 may be a good deal, it is about what the whole car is worth, and there is no more than an even chance that they will get a second trip to the alps.
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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!
@hughbedo, two sets of tyres last twice as long. Yes the wheels are extra and yes you have the initial outlay but still.

Depends a little on if you are going to be keeping the are a while too.
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@hughbedo, whatever you do, do not run 2 winter and 2 summer tyres. it is the worst possible combo! What about train/plane/coach?
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Quote:

Depends a little on if you are going to be keeping the are a while too.


Yeah, this is the big question. My current car is 13 years old with < 50K on the clock. May last 5 years, may last 5 days.
Quote:

@hughbedo, whatever you do, do not run 2 winter and 2 summer tyres. it is the worst possible combo! What about train/plane/coach?


Thanks, I shall not do that then. I want to stop off on the way, which really makes driving the only option.

I am going to Montgenevre, looking at google maps I think I need to drive a little bit in Italy to get there. Does anyone know if summer tyres + snow chains would be legal there? The link I posted above seems to indicate that they may be required, but they do not seem reliable.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
In snowy Northern Italy it's OK to have ordinary tyres but you must have chains. There are signs to that effect on the motorways. Some people have claimed that they say snow tyres and chains are compulsory but that's not the case.
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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.
hughbedo wrote:
Quote:

Depends a little on if you are going to be keeping the are a while too.


Yeah, this is the big question. My current car is 13 years old with < 50K on the clock. May last 5 years, may last 5 days.

Blimey. You need to get out more wink Laughing


hughbedo wrote:
Quote:
@hughbedo, whatever you do, do not run 2 winter and 2 summer tyres. it is the worst possible combo! What about train/plane/coach?


Thanks, I shall not do that then. I want to stop off on the way, which really makes driving the only option.

I am going to Montgenevre, looking at google maps I think I need to drive a little bit in Italy to get there. Does anyone know if summer tyres + snow chains would be legal there? The link I posted above seems to indicate that they may be required, but they do not seem reliable.

AFAIK you don't need winter tyres in Italy. But you will need snow chains. Same as France effectively.

TBH. If I was you, given how little you appear to use your car, and given its age, I'd just go with the summers + chains.
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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
To clarify, I bought the car a few months ago for about what was quoted above for 4 tyres. I think the summers + chains is the obvious solution. I would be willing to pay a bit for snow tyres, last time I used chains in Europe I messed up fitting them, broke them, and had to drive quite a few miles with summer tyres up a road totally covered with packed snow between 2 sheer cliffs with no barriers in Austria. It is not an experience I want to repeat, but I do not think I am willing to drop £600 on avoiding a 5% chance of that.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@hughbedo, I have same issue as you but opposite end of the scale, I lease my cars and get a new one every 2 years & only do about 8K miles a year (4K of that is 2 trips to Alps ) so I never need to replace tyres. The cost of getting a set of winters every new car makes flying a more economical argument.
Luckily StG is only 850M high so we are usually ok
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
hughbedo wrote:
To clarify, I bought the car a few months ago for about what was quoted above for 4 tyres. I think the summers + chains is the obvious solution. I would be willing to pay a bit for snow tyres, last time I used chains in Europe I messed up fitting them, broke them, and had to drive quite a few miles with summer tyres up a road totally covered with packed snow between 2 sheer cliffs with no barriers in Austria. It is not an experience I want to repeat, but I do not think I am willing to drop £600 on avoiding a 5% chance of that.

You need to practice fitting the chains several times at home to make sure you know how to do it and they fit correctly. When you fit them for real it will be cold and wet - and possibly dark.

Oh and if you are driving a £600 car to Montgenevre in the middle of winter I would make sure you have the best breakdown insurance money can buy.

Are you driving by yourself?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I probably will get breakdown insurance, but I am not that worried. It is about 1600 miles, and I would not worry about doing that many miles in the UK without AA cover. The point of having a cheap car is that if it breaks down I can just get it to a scrap yard and get home on the train. Would be hassle with all the kit, but doable.

I shall make sure I can put the snow chains on this time, that is for sure.

I am going with 1 other, but they do not drive. We shall not be in a hurry, and will make a bit of a trip of it.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

The point of having a cheap car is that if it breaks down I can just get it to a scrap yard and get home on the train. Would be hassle with all the kit, but doable.

dunno about the top spec AA, but the top spec ADAC coverage means they do all of that for you. They repatriate you, your kit, and your car, handle all the legalities for getting a wreck back to the location where it can be officially scrapped etc.
Ditto if you snap a leg or something, and can't drive it back.
Not bad for about €100/yr. In effect double insured.
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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?
The medical problem that prevents you driving is a big one that I had not considered. I shall investigate ADAC.
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hughbedo wrote:
The medical problem that prevents you driving is a big one that I had not considered. I shall investigate ADAC.

That's why I asked if you were driving alone.

Regarding "The point of having a cheap car is that if it breaks down I can just get it to a scrap yard and get home on the train." I wouldn't underestimate the hassle factor. Nonetheless if the car is well maintained, serviced and winterised it should be OK.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I have driven to the Alps every year for the last 5 and have no problem...coming fro the North I find that an overnight stop is preferable but if you live south of London it is possible in one day I go via Luxembourg and avoid the French tolls .. I note that one contributor said that you do not need fuel additive ..last year mine froze up ..I had filled up in Verona and had thought that this would be OK ..it wasn't..my hotelier said that you need to fill up IN the mountains ..and run it a bit to get the new fuel distributed ,,For £10 I bought a litre of additive and added it from before I went(1ml additive per litre of fuel)...its not worth taking the chance. The temperature can get down to -30c in the mountains and if you have to park outside for a week or two. I can also recommend the Post Office Credit card ..I got mine last year and there are no charges for using abroad and you get the best rate ..
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Winter tyres on yesterday and then back out to mountains Monday hopefully (subject to getting Russian Visa today) late evening, have not booked it yet but know there is availability Mon and Tues* for a dog friendly cabin on the 23:00 Portsmouth Le Havre.

This is another good way of driving out / crossing the Channel.

Nice dinner on board, sleep and then disembark 08:30 very relaxed.

Journey is a little shorter as well, and you miss a fair few tolls.

Still will be back and forth a few more times this year the way things are working out

*have checked weather forecast and all looks good


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Fri 5-10-18 11:11; edited 1 time in total
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Weathercam, that's interesting. We used to use that service a lot years ago to get to southern France in the summer, but they discontinued it. I didn't realise it had been reinstated. It was very civilised.
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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!
DaveD wrote:
I go via Luxembourg and avoid the French tolls ....

That must add 3+ hours onto your journey, surely?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Depends where you go.
Not all the Alps are in France Wink
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Feckin industrial action by the Frenchies at Le Havre Monday so ferry cancelled and hence Tuesday now full Evil or Very Mad
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