Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Snow chains for S-Max...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, first drive to the alps this year. Never had, or used snowchains before.

We are heading to Les Arcs for Easter - so it is highly likely that we won't see 'chain worthy' conditions. And, if we do, i can only imagine it will be in the last few km up the hill. But, I'd rather be prepared.

We have a ford S-max, 225/50/17 tyres. I'd like to buy some low cost/mid price chains for piece of mind, but in the knowledge they are unlikely to be used - so 'longevity' is not a particular issue. Looking at websites - seems £50 to £100 is the lower end price bracket.

Can anyone recommend from experience a good set of chains, low cost, easy to fit?

Thanks!
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi @Richie_S, have you looked at snow socks?
I've got Autosock snow socks for both our cars, an S Max and a Golf. I haven't used the socks on the S Max yet, but on my Golf they worked a treat in 6" of snow last year. I also have Michelin Cross Climate tyres on the S Max, which coped very well with snow in the UK last year and this. I bought the socks for the S Max before I got the Cross Climate tyres, so the socks are probably redundant now - although we might need to put them on if asked on some mountain roadside.

In four Easter drives to the French Alpes, I haven't actually driven in Alpine snow yet - something of a disappointment I admit - but I'm sure that we shall get caught one day. At the end of a long motorway drive, and with a fully-laden car, I imagine that a very snowy road will not be much fun.

Someone will probably be along here soon to tell me I'm doing it wrong, that socks aren't as good as chains (they probably aren't) and that Cross Climates aren't 'proper' winter tyres (again they probably aren't, but they do have the 3 peak & snowflake symbol so go figure). The only time I've used chains, on a friend's car going up to La Plagne, they were a bug to fit. On the contrary, the socks went on very easily first time I tried a practice run. I'm happy with socks.
latest report     
 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?
Go for socks or buy chains online which can be returned if unused.
snow conditions     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Or, stop at one of the last supermarkets before the "hill" and buy a cheap pair there if conditions look "iffy".

The other thing to remember is that "low cost" and "easy to fit" tend to be mutually exclusive.
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Richie_S, +1 for socks, they really work on snow and slush (not so much on glazed ice, but still better than rubber) . . . However, you need to keep your speed under 20 mph or they will spectacularly self destruct but without much if any damage to your car. They're not chains but they will get you to where you want to go or at least to 'safe harbour' whatever the rubber on your wheels. Yesterday I had to traverse near 50 miles on sheet ice . . . I'm not talking just compressed snow . . . this was pounded down, sun melted and tyre polished at -20° ice rink glazed ice from kerb to kerb. The socks took 5 min. to fit and kept me rolling past 19 major accidents without any issue from the State Police . . . I was already within the 200 mile section of I80 between Rock Springs and Elk Mountain Wyoming that had been closed fer accidents and winter conditions.
SO, go fer socks as first and last resort, be prepared to stop and find shelter or turn around if you do not have experience of driving in crappy conditions especially if you are responsible for anyone other than yourself . . . I'm being serious, a car is the last place you need to be if stuck in a winter event. I'm in an artic with 250 gallons of fuel to feed a independent heating system, a fridge full of food, a microwave and induction hob . . . though sadly lacking an indoor toilet . . . 'have shovel will dump' (they'Lloyd not find it till spring Twisted Evil ) as the alternative. I can spent a month out in the wilderness without issue . . . you will be in trouble within three days.

Sorry to pee in yer porridge, buy socks but don't think of then as magic bullets, and don't press on just because you think you need to.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Ex & I had an S-Max with that size of tyre and manual recommends chains can't be used. I still have the snowsocks in my lockup (That's a positive & negative, my lockup is 70 miles away and v full) we got through some horrendous conditions with them on, ice, snow that could be heard scaping the bottom of the car, some steep inclines covered in snow near the apartment.
We then put Goodyear Vector all season tyres on & never needed to put the socks on again.
I will probably be near my lockup between now and Easter, if I can find them & they are still ok, you can have them if you cover postage.
Ps the first time we fitted them, we pulled into a chainage area where some guy already had a set of chains in his hands, we were on our way again before he had one chain on, however, socks are not so easy to fit once they have been used a couple of times.
snow report     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Richie_S, Easter is so late this year it is highly unlikely that you will need chains. And having said that the only times I have needed chains going up to Les Arcs has been twice, both at Easter, but they were when Easter was in March rather than the very end of April.

It also depends to a large extent what time of day you plan to arrive. If it is late at night or the early hours then the roads may have some snow on them. From about 10:00 to about 19:00 the shear amount of traffic keeps the road clear. If the road is blocked when you arrive it will probably be cleared in an hour or two. The sun is starting to get fierce at that time of year.

Though my personal view would be not to bother packing chains. I would be very cautious about relying on them being available in hypermarkets in Bourg. They will have probably destocked them come mid April.
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Hi! I found this on eBay and thought you might like it! Check it out now! snow chains 225 50 17 Unused https://ebay.us/HtlJbg
snow conditions     
 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've needed chains in late April after "sun shower" deposited an inch or two of slush on a not-very-steep bit of road. And that was with four pretty new top quality snow tyres. I've got good at chains over the years, with lots of practice, fitted them very fast and the snow was gone within a couple of hours when I drove back, having taken them off. In the OP,'s situation I think socks would be a sensible compromise. Better the socks you fit as soon as there's any loss of traction than the chains you leave till it's too late.
snow conditions     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Firstly, always consult your Owner's Manual for your specific vehicle model, year etc. If this isn't clear, then ask you dealer service department (they may want your VIN, to be certain). Most models have a fair range of different wheel and tyre combinations and the model alone (even the year & Model) isn't always enough to be sure. If your car is second-hand, a previous owner might have changed the wheel/tyre size, so always check the tyre fitted against what you Manual says.

All-season tyres are a great compromise for UK owners who perhaps only do one trip to the Alps each year.

I'd always recommend having all you need on-board, for the conditions you're likely to hit i.e. get your chains or socks ahead of your trip.
snow report     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
..


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Sat 9-02-19 18:54; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays     
 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.
Buy socks from Halfords they are quite happy to refund if taken back unused, there is a small cable tie holding the pack closed, easily replaced should you need to have a look Embarassed
ski holidays     
 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
There's loads on facebook marketplace or ebay that are for sale at a fraction of the new price.....not the easiest place to sometimes find the size but you will find bargins. Or buy from a hypermarket in France. Best to get them before you need them so you can practice putting them on first.
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

Best to get them before you need them so you can practice putting them on first.

Very good advice. A friend of mine, from Yorkshire as it happened, had snow tyres and was determined not to buy chains. On the last few bends up the mountain to his apartment (near mine), he could make no more progress and with very tight-lipped wife who had been nagging for weeks about buying chains, had to drive the hairy 20 minutes back down to the supermarket in the valley. Then he decided the neatest way to fit chains was to jack the car up. An astonished Frenchman watched him, and offered to show him how, on the other wheel.

"But the wheel I did was much neater", Gordon told me proudly later. That was in a supermarket car park, in the valley, on tarmac. Jacking the car up in a muddle lay-by full of snow wouldn't be too funny. Laughing
snow conditions     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I used to go for cheap chains for my lease cars, then ended-up with 3-4 different one in my garage. When I bought my latest car as a long-term purchase, I spent a bit more and realised two things: 1. That the manufacturer's directions to pre-fit them was more than just advice: it was essential to getting them to fit properly and 2. Although they cost more, they fitted a much wider range of wheel sizes than cheaper ones, so in the long term, would have been more cost-effective.

Out of the box, the links were set to fit the smallest size of wheel/tyre in their size range - I had to spend about 30 minutes per chain to adjust them to fit my tyre size. And that was in a warm and well-lit garage, using the spare wheel lying flat (which makes like much easier). So yes, with chains, always try them out first.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks all for the feedback. Per some of the posts, my manual does indeed indicates chains aren't advised for the 17" rims. I hadn't looked at snow-socks before... they certainly seem a reasonable alternative. And i wouldn't have considered them if i hadn't heard positive feedback on here.

I agree with the general view that I won't need them at Easter, but i was a boy scout and maintain the 'be prepared' mantra to this day! I've also seen enough comments here recommending trying chains on 'at home' prior to having to use them properly - so i'll make sure we are equipped and trialled prior to leaving.

So, if it's to be snow socks - from a bit of googling, it looks like brand 'Autosocks' are the original and best, (they are at pains to point that out) and they have clear guidance about approval from the Gendarme to be able to use them when otherwise chains would be required.

Any opinions, then, on Autosocks or competitive brand products ? I also note autosock now do a lower cost variant now, without the side mesh or strap, in order to compete against the alternative manufacturers.

@tangowaggon, that's a very kind offer, and one I'd happily take you up on. Let me know if it's going to be a real possibility of getting them prior to Easter - without putting you out, of course.

Cheers!
snow conditions     



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy