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Campervan in Switzerland

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@no.strife_vanlife, good luck on your adventure, many will be envious, me included. The van your converting, is it from a std panel van, or are you upgrading a camper, either way it needs to be winterised.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Issues with winter camping







1. Moisture

Metal surfaces on the inside of the van will attract moisture and freeze, then cause damp. Foil wrapped bubble wrap stops air moisture freezing on these metal surfaces, and reduces damp. The more insulation you add, the warmer the van will be. Starting with a normal camping van, means you have to strip back to add the insulation. Starting with a bare van, allows you to add loads of insulation, then fit your living area around the insulation. Starting with something like a travelling freezer van, or fish van, might help with already inbuilt insulation before you start adding more.

2. Cold

Whilst insulation is important, heating is sometimes essential. Most people opt for these petrol air fanned heaters, however I tried a gas and a paraffin heater. Both were effective, but there are issues with getting sufficient air in and getting exhaust fumes out. The gas heater would cut out after 1/2 hour of use, due to its inbuilt cut off when there was insufficient oxygen. The parrafin heater had no such cut off, however it had the tendency to spill a little parrafin when driving if there was any parrafin in the sealed unit when moving.

Catalytic gas heaters are safer for camper vans. CO monitors and alarms are useful too. Fire extinguishers and fire blankets are helpful. Also consider the fire exit, is it blocked by the fire?

I have heard of people using wood burners (or whip burners as he called it) in the back of the van.

I eventually ended up running the engine for a while in the evening, and turning the blowers on (with some ducting to take the air to the back of the van)

3. Parking

Outside parking has problems with heat at night, but also if the van gets covered with snow there are subsidiary problems. You cannot move until the snow is cleared. The snow melts, then freezes all over your engine and electrical parts (my horn would go on due to a connection occurring due to ice) This can cause short circuits in internal lighting, which flattens batteries.

4. Noise

Insulation will reduce outside noise. More insulation, of varying types, will be even more effective. People get up early in car parks and clear the snow. Cars come and go.
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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?
Quote:
Its something called prioritising. maybe you should spend less time learning language and more time practicing not being judgemental and ignorant.



Out of interest, what did you prioritise above learning a foreign language when you were preparing for your stint of working for a period of time in a foreign country?
Madeye-Smiley
Just askn' like.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Have you decided where you’re going? In most of the big resorts I doubt pidgeon language skills will be of much use as they speak English everywhere. Try speaking French in a Verbier bar and half the time the bar person won’t understand you!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
very modest foreign language skills in a big resort may not be of much "use" and the OP is not going to get past this level, but it can be a mark of respect sometimes. Bonjour, Herrlich Tag, deux bieres SVP. Not trying to be awkward here, but staying in a van in a big resort is doing the locals out of a bit of business. And keeping yourself and your clothes warm, tidy and clean is a serious undertaking. Winterising your van will cost a lot. Not being negative. Don't want anyone to have an uncomfortable 5 months, and I have the tee shirt from 1982.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
brandegg wrote:
Not trying to be awkward here, but staying in a van in a big resort is doing the locals out of a bit of business


Possibly, but it is also adding to the community. Buying food, fuel, spending money in the village etc. You could argue taking your skies and not renting does the locals out of business and a whole host of other things
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
“The gas heater would cut out after 1/2 hour of use, due to its inbuilt cut off when there was insufficient oxygen.”

W.T.F.???

Are you completely insane?
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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!
brandegg wrote:
Not trying to be awkward here, but staying in a van in a big resort is doing the locals out of a bit of business


Actually in Morzine, it's kinda the opposite.
The municipal campsite at le Jotty is deliberately kept open during the winter, so that there is somewhere for seasonal workers to live.
This enables the resort to thrive, as much of the accommodation is beyond the budget of seasonal workers, and there is no obligation or incentive for employers to provide accommodation since they will need to pay social charges (€400), on top of the cost of providing the accommodation.
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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.
wrote:
“The gas heater would cut out after 1/2 hour of use, due to its inbuilt cut off when there was insufficient oxygen.”

W.T.F.???

Are you completely insane?


I stopped using the gas heater after I bought the parrafin heater. The doors in the van would not provide a complete seal, and the exhaust for the heater was a condensing boiler exhaust which allowed air to come in which was heated by the hot air pipe going out. So, not completely insane, just partially. Using electricity to blow the fumes out was inefficient, and a better system would incorporate a windmill on the roof which either sucked the fumes out or turned a fan on the inside. (the diesel heaters which are fan assisted use electricity to power the fan, and are a drain on batteries)



Of course, 1/2 hour was when I had both gas elements on. With only one gas element it was longer before it sensed that there was not enough oxygen for complete combustion.

With the engine running and the blowers on, it was not necessary to use the parrafin heater. I only used it for a quick heat up of the van after it had been sitting cold for many hours.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Wed 12-06-19 14:00; edited 1 time in total
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Bigtipper, Seems really complicated, why not just attach a bit of plastic tubing to the exhaust pipe of the van.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@rjs, I had to fill the exhaust tube under the van because of rust holes, otherwise it would let the CO inside the van. I can't see a plastic tube lasting long enough in the weather conditions.
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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.
@rjs, Sarcasm fail.
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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
@BoardieK, "Sarcasm is slaying annoyance with well enhanced vocabulary and extreme humoric sentences. It's basically punching people in the face with words."

How you respond to sarcasm, determines how you would respond to a punch in the face with words.

You can

a) punch back with more sarcasm
b) treat the comment as genuine and not sarcastic and reply without malice
c) pretend to misunderstand the sarcasm, and reply with a kick in the groin

The reality of sarcasm, is that it is the language of losers. I know, Scotland is particularly prolific in producing sarcastic people. Winners tend to avoid sarcasm, as it offends.

My own response to sarcasm varies between a) b) and c). The best response to sarcasm comes from people who are humble, nice, and genuine. They diffuse the original comment by taking them literally, and being believable in doing so. Unfortunately, that is not me, I responded with more sarcasm.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Back to the OP - I think some of us trying to respond are a bit puzzled about your strategy. You say you both have well-paid UK jobs, so at what point does the money you save (if any) over a discounted season rental of a studio versus the van thing become unworthwhile? £3K? £2K? £1K? Won't you both have a much more enjoyable experience in even the smallest studio, compared to a van? I'm not saying ditch the van as it would be useful transport. But I can't help feeling that you've fixed on doing the van thing as a premis, rather than as part of a cost/benefit judgement. And the feedback I see here from people who've done it implies you need to spend a reasonable amount on 'winterising' your van as well, which will surely eat into the cost savings? I'd admire your endurance and resourcefulness in doing it, but I can't see how it's worth it to save a few grand, given you say you both have good jobs.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Another thought I had (which I did not do), is if you find yourself camping in car parks at altitude take a spade with you. Whilst the big trucks clear most of the snow, it is not uncommon for people to go around with spades and clear any compacted ice and snow after the majority of the snow has been cleared.

Helping out with this, without being asked or without being paid, might be beneficial to your treatment in the car park camping arena. Of course, if you are asked to stop doing it, then do not object.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So, @no.strife_vanlife - just interested, what are your conclusions so far, given the advice on here?
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