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Christmas Drive Down 2019 - chit chat

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Its this time of the year again when some of us are preparing for our drive down to the Alps.

We start our drive form London on the afternoon of the 19th and planning to meet Mrs Ozboy somewhere off the M20 near Ashford as she will be getting a train directly to save time. We are booked on the 6:20 pm crossing and heading to hotel Val Moret for the night. Arrive in Chatel at lunchtime on 20th in time for collecting click-and-collect groceries in the afternoon from Super U Vinzier. Blue e-class estate with snowHead sticker on roofbox.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 9-12-19 21:04; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We are leaving from near Reading on the afternoon of 20th, as soon as school finishes. Booked on the 5.20 crossing. Overnight accommodation not quite as salubrious as yours Ozboy, Premier Classe Reims Sud for us. But its warm, clean and will do a reasonably priced job nicely for the five of us. Plus, my DH will have a good bottle of red stored somewhere reachable in the car, to compensate for the cost saving on the hotel ! Black e class estate with roofbox, packed to the gunnels, en route for Les Gets.
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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?
Morning of 20th for us (office party on 19th so not too early). Drive to tunnel from Colchester, lunchtime crossing and considering doing the lot in one go down to Chatel. Black Skoda Scout.

@Ozboy, we’ve done pickup at Ashford before. Tube to Stratford, fast train to Ashford, works well.
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Looks like all PDS so far.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
First thing on 19th Straight to Montalbert La Plagne via the Tunnel and a fuel stop at Tournus.
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@DJL, We are planning to meet at the Ashford International Hotel which is just off the M20 junction to avoid driving into the town Center. OH will take a taxi from the station.

We would try to meet up in Chatel - we are often by Hors Piste for apres ski drink while our girls keep the Chatel carousel in business.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Ozboy we’ve usually had the car there waiting for when the train comes in. Drive out to M20 is not too bad.

We’re in Chatel 21st to 28th so should be able to meet up this time.
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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!
Another one here for the PdS.
Taking my 14yr old Nephew away.
Wrapping up work in the Peak District around 11am on Fri 20th, and driving down to Ashford to stay the night in a Premier Inn before a 05:50am Eurotunnel on the 21st.
I have friends who live in Ashford so it's nice to catch up with them en-route on the Friday evening.
Heading to Morzine in a blue Punto, Girlfriend is flying into Geneva on Xmas day and then joining us.
Safe travels guys.
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2 cars on the 0820 tunnel on 20th. Heading for Les Arcs with an Airbnb booked just outside of Bourg en Bresse for an en route stop over. It’s our sons (20) 1st time driving alone so if you see a black/grey Laguna estate followed by a silver A5 then give us a toot.
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Leaving early doors on the 13th. Picking up daughter plus friend from Grenoble early on the 14th enroute to Tignes. Driving to Lyon on the 20th where we catch a flight back to the UK and return on the 27th, pick up car for a week in LTV before driving back on the 4th. Sure I’ve forgotten something in the logistics, we’ll wait to see......
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Post Xmas heading out on 27th for week in Les Arcs
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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.
@snowlamb, That looks very close to what we are doing. Stopping at a friends in Ashford on Thursday night then getting the 8:13 train on the 20th (If these things ever run on time). Then straight on to Les Arcs. We should get to Les Arcs about 8 that evening. Here's hoping for decent weather.
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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
Meeting the kids at school on the 19th, tunnel at 7ish then pushing on to an even less salubrious stay than @Wrekingirl, - Ibis Budget in Reims - then crack of dawn next day we head for Tignes Les Brev. Grey 3008 with a roofbox. Can't wait. I love the drive down.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Out on the 21-50 tunnel crossing on the 20th heading for Les Coches.

Anyone heading out this weekend look like they might have some fun!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It's worth checking Highways England for updates on the M20. With the downgrading to a dumb motorway through Maidstone there are frequent weekend and evening closures.

There is rail engineering works going on at Ashford from 27 Dec to 2 Jan. Trains aren't stopping there. Eurostar will go through, but mainline services will have the dreaded bus replacement service. Not sure if this will be too much of an issue for you lucky B's, but if anyone is doing the same as the OP over these dates beware.

Happy hols snowHead
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just joined A5 from A26 at Troyes.
Going ok so far, but seem to be lot more lorries than usual (can't go by train due to strike?).
Only possible effect of strike was extra long queue at Folkstone Eurotunnel to get past French passport control - just 2 slots open.
Now heading for La Flambee near Dijon. Looking forward to dinner.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Jonpim, Lifts open in 3 days time, Hope you have packed the skins snowHead
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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?
Lots to do before Saturday.
And then the wind will shut all the lifts Sad
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Yes, but perfection will be achieved ready for next Saturday snowHead wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@rainman, don't be deceived by the cunning marketing ploy of Premier Classe naming a hotel the opposite of what it actually is ! I will keep an eye out for you as we will probably be on the road at the same time.

What are people's favourite landmark on the way down? Mine is the sight of the "Big Chicken" on the junction near near Bourg en Bresse, because I know that means we are starting the last leg of the journey and the mountains will be appearing shortly.
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If any of you are fond of a last chance bacon butty or sausage sarnie whilst in the queue to board a chunnel, then think again. They've replaced the old last chance butty van with a vending machine that only serves coffee, chocolate and tea.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Wrekingirl, the Big Chicken is also my favourite landmark for much the same reason. Hours of relatively monotonous driving and then the chicken tells me I'm getting there.
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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!
@Wrekingirl, @Alastair, Big Chicken for us too! I do wonder if our children will drive past it as adults and be reminded of the almost fanatical announcement from the front of the car when a parent spots it.....
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Wrekingirl and others, Big Chicken? Don't think I've ever noticed it. From your description its at one of the exits off A6 around Macon. A40? A406? We'll look out for it today Little Angel
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@Jonpim, it's at the Poulet de Bresse service area on the A39.
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@Ozboy, you beat me to it, I was going to start the topic today!

Last weekend was practice tow ski rack fitting, this weekend it's snow chains refresher and shopping (don't forget mice pies). Wednesday next week start packing major things (sledges, ski wear, boost, helmets) and stuffing them into the boot. Friday - working from home and wrapping up early to finalise the packing, put kids to beds earlier, wrap Christmas presents and run through the final checklist.

We leave in the early hours of Saturday, aiming for 6:12 or earlier crossing and then to Val Thorens in one shot. Long stop for late breakfast somewhere around Reims, long lunch stop between Macon and Lyon, fuel/shopping in Moutiers and last push uphill. We rehearsed this over several summer and autumn trips and find that this works best for us - stop overs with young kids create more hassle and fuffaboutery than rest.
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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.
may be worth moving to the piste?
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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
Ozboy wrote:
@DJL, We are planning to meet at the Ashford International Hotel which is just off the M20 junction to avoid driving into the town Center.

You make it sound like a throbbing metropolis, rather than the sleepy ex-market town on the edge of Romney Marsh Smile
You'll also be depriving your self a visit to Ashford's contemporary street art.


I'll be in PLJ Sat & Sun.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ah, Alastair, we usually go A6 rather than A39.
Mostly habit. Agree A39 is usually quieter, but only 2 lanes: when lorries start passing each other then can really mess up progress.
So, why do you go your way: sell me the A39 over the A6 Smile
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Is the A39 option any quicker? That used to be my route, but when the peage section around Lyon was completed my sat.nav always takes me in that direction. I do miss the chicken.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I leave on Tuesday 17th with my 5 pets (inc. 1 new puppy,) crossing the Eurotunnel at 7:30am and hopefully arriving in Morzine at around 6pm. The family fly into Geneva Thursday night, so the first day skiing will be Friday 20th, probably in Avoriaz as my son has a lesson in the afternoon in Chatel.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Leaving on the 19th via the tunnel, to arrive Ste Foy on the 20th. First time there for us.
Staying overnight at the Val Moret plus the dog. We just have to remember not to take the road to Les Gets on Friday, hard to break a habit after 18 years! Daughter, SIL and the grand daughters following on, all day drive on the 20th.
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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?
@Jonpim, I do the A39 rather than the A6. It is significantly quieter. The A6 seems to be jammed solid most of the time.

You also get the big chicken.

Anway my major landmark is Satolas Airport. Mind you Aime and the first sighting of the Deux Tetes is always a pleasure
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I've done A39 a couple of times on way back, both times by mistake. Was fine, but they were quiet days.
Today the first spirit raising sight was seeing snow in distance as joined the A43 east of Lyon.
Now at Aime. Lots of cars with inches of snow. Snow level at top of town on south side. Down to town on north facing side.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Alastair wrote:
@Jonpim, it's at the Poulet de Bresse service area on the A39.


There must be another one then, because we definitely passed one on the way to Chatel last year via A5->A40. Unless google actually took us via A39 and I didn't pay attention Embarassed
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@Jonpim, @rob@rar, It's habit as much as anything for me. The sat nav and Google Maps usually, but not always, say to take the A6 but the difference in distance and forecast time isn't significant and I quite enjoy seeing all the other traffic go the other way. As I usually do the drive on a Sunday, the overtaking lorry issue isn't a problem either. Perhaps I will try the other way next time!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Alastair, "the overtaking lorry issue isn't a problem either" I've never known it a problem either.
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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!
Pick-up straight from school on 19th, booked on a 6:50pm Tunnel crossing. Staying at the ACE Hotel Arras-Beaurains. Normally head for Reims but after a busy few weeks seemed too much of a stretch if we got delayed. Aiming to be in Les Carroz before it gets dark on 20th and out on the slopes on Saturday. We have a less polite name for the large chicken!
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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.
We always used to take the A6 - stopping at Chalon-sur-saone for fuel and a shop but last few times we've taken the A39 and got off the motorway just after Bourg en Bresse and taken the non motorway route to Chambery. The D1075 and the D1054. Spectacular route usually fairly empty and saves a few bob on the tolls.
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And we’re off. Left at 5 on the 8 ish euro tunnel hopefully pulling into our hotel just outside Grenoble sometime around 6 this evening. Anybody recommend a decent supermarche near Grenoble airport?
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