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Driving down for Feb half term

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Careful in the Swiss tunnels, speed limit varies. Got pinged in a hire, car took several weeks to get to me. Plus the admin charge from hire car company for telling tales.
Best not to ignore. Heard stories of people being arrested at gva on arrival for not paying fines on previous trips. Could be a urban myth, mind you, but the Swiss are very efficient.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
that's it, final jigsaw piece in place. ordered our six day 3valley lift passes from les menuires website over the weekend.

strangely, you can only get a family discount if it is for 2 adults and at least 2 children, so if you are a single parent or travelling with a non skiing parent, you seem to be discriminated against!!!!

it is only me and my 2 teenage daughters going this year, but fortunately there are 2 other families going, one dad and two teenage sons with a non skiing mum, another non skiing mum and teenage daughter. so we have teamed up together to get the 8 passes with the family discount, so all the passes cost 249 euros which is the childs pass (one 12 year old going), so we have saved at least 50 euros each (pays for a couple of meals on the mountains) on the other 7 passes.

though i did drop a Bo!!ock last night and only order 7 passes, i had a few drinks and my maths were obviously not up to scratch Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

only noticed it this morning as i was ordering my families Saturday Belleville valley reduced passes on line, and saw that i had missed a pass off!!!

was able to buy an individual childs pass at 249 euros, as all the other ones purchased were either adults or juniors, phew Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

free rechargeable cards, cannot find the ones from last time, and shipping

just had an email to say two of the three orders have been shipped, extremely speedy service

anyway, all that is left to do is get all the kit together next weekend when i next get home from work, i will be away again until a day before travelling out, so want to make sure everything is sorted out and in one place. will also do some cooking and put in the freezer to take with us, do a practice snow chain install and attach the paege doofer to the windscreen.

oh, and make up a couple of itune playlists for myself, as the girls will be plugged into their screens so i can have my own music blasting out for a change Very Happy Very Happy

this will be the first year that my daughters have all their own kit as well, so it really is a case of getting into les menuires on Saturday morning, we are staying in alberville the night before, park up by our apartment for the week, get our kit on and walk to the slope about 30m away

forecast is for heavy snow the middle and latter part of this week, hope it continues

anyway, i make it 18 more sleeps until we set off on the Thursday evening
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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?
15 more sleeps to go until the car packing commences Very Happy
Monstrously long packing list is written, car parking in resort sorted, evening meal plan sorted (self catering), lift passes delivered, test pack of kit done (see richard_sideways pic further up!).
Things to do this weekend - put the winter tyres on
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always29 wrote:
15 more sleeps to go until the car packing commences Very Happy
Monstrously long packing list is written, car parking in resort sorted, evening meal plan sorted (self catering), lift passes delivered, test pack of kit done (see richard_sideways pic further up!).
Things to do this weekend - put the winter tyres on


Wow, you are well prepared. We will...erm...pack what we need to, based on what we usually pack and whatever we remember to put in, on the Friday afternoon just before the kids get back from school, at which point we will get in the car, pull out of the driveway, then reverse back in and take whatever my other half remembered at the last minute, put that into the boot, notice that the skis aren't actually on the ski carrier at the top, get out and put them in, lock the ski carrier and get everything back in the car, then remember that we're taking my brother's skis too, get out and grab those from where he put them in the garage at the side of the house, work out how to unlock the bloody ski carrier because the locks stick, put the extra pair in, lock it all up, get back in the car and drive down to the tunnel, stopping on the way at the outlet centre to buy yet another of all of the things that we've worked out on the way that we've forgotten to pack. Yeah, that sounds about right... wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
always29 wrote:
15 more sleeps to go until the car packing commences Very Happy
Monstrously long packing list is written, car parking in resort sorted, evening meal plan sorted (self catering), lift passes delivered, test pack of kit done (see richard_sideways pic further up!).
Things to do this weekend - put the winter tyres on


Yes, I've got to get the winter tyres on too - I'm aiming to do that the weekend before we go. Not sure I could bring myself to plan meals for every night but fair play to you!
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@always29, @Page23, why do you not have winter tyres on already? They are good for winter in Britain too.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Layne, Because the current weather in the south of England is comparable to Autumn - mild and wet. Why would I want to trash my winter tyres in suboptimal temperatures?
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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!
Winter tyres have been on for a few months, just prefer the cold early morning traction they have as typically below 7 deg in cold cotswold valleys - agree much of the time during the day it's been higher.

My approach more mirrors Szymon's but the wife is big on lists and so we have one from last year to go by....that then normally leads to her checking with me if we have something I haven't ticked off and I answer I think so but will have to check and we have a shout about doing the job twice :->

Have to practice fitting snow chains again to refresh my memory, but other than that whatching the weather thread like a hawk!
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First year I took snow chains I practised with them before hand and fitted them in a couple of minutes. Following year I didn’t practise and had an absolute nightmare. Hands froze and I had to ask for help. Battery also died as only did short car journeys between accommodation and the lifts. I’m going to practise fitting the chains this weekend.
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Page23 wrote:
Not sure I could bring myself to plan meals for every night but fair play to you!


Tis quite a loose plan - something frozen that will have defrosted for Sat tea arrival, rotisserie chicken and pizza take outs in resort for a couple of nights, fondue out another night, more so I can think of herbs and seasonings to take with us.

Ah, yes, forgot snowchain putting on practice...
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
sod that for one week
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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.
Jonesj wrote:
First year I took snow chains I practised with them before hand and fitted them in a couple of minutes. Following year I didn’t practise and had an absolute nightmare. Hands froze and I had to ask for help. Battery also died as only did short car journeys between accommodation and the lifts. I’m going to practise fitting the chains this weekend.


A rolled up old rug and / or knee pads, thermal freezer store gloves, a head lamp and some ibuprofen, and fitting snow chains becomes markedly easier.
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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
Can’t find the mounting plates for my spikes spiders. Was going to look at changing size to fit current car. I know I had them 2 years ago !! Another search of the garage at the weekend. Good job we don’t go till March.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
endoman wrote:
Can’t find the mounting plates for my spikes spiders. Was going to look at changing size to fit current car. I know I had them 2 years ago !! Another search of the garage at the weekend. Good job we don’t go till March.

Get any spare parts here
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@endoman, frustrating and a problem I've had in the past. Last time Amazon had some really good deals on the mounting kits (less than £40 for a 17mm set) but sadly not at the moment. I hope you find them - I can't help as I'm in France at the moment.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@endoman, actually, a bit of an update - if you need the entire mounting kit (i.e/ you have the chains but not the rest) then you can find the mounting kit for 17 mm bolts (v. common) for £82.79 here. This will be significantly cheaper that going to Roofbox, who are the wizards for spare parts.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's definitely in the garage somewhere, then I will need some different arms to fit the lower profile tyres and a fiddle with the link lengths. Fortunately I have 8 spare tyres in the garage to practice on!! ( big garage, needs a mega de clutter)

Couldn't find the alternative chains either ( found 2 other sets) turns out they were in the boot under the false floor bit. It's why I need to start organising packing 6 weeks in advance.
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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?
@endoman, FWIW I check the sizing on the Spiders each time I change the car. When I bought my current car I realised I would need quite a number of spare parts and then discovered I could, as an alternative, (at that time) buy a set of the correctly sized XXL Sport chains for £78.28 and a new mounting kit for about £40 (i.e. a set of £400+ snow chains for about £120). Only those who have used them will realise that £300-400 is, actually, reasonable. I'm now overflowing with spare parts having bought two sets and doubt I'll need to buy any Spikes Spider bits for many years. Frustrating when you lose bits, though, which I'm sure we all do. rolling eyes Come the summer it seems that Amazon's computers realise that the Spikes Spiders have stopped selling and keep the price reducing to create demand, setting a price to shift them which must lose them money.
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Page23 wrote:
@Layne, Because the current weather in the south of England is comparable to Autumn - mild and wet. Why would I want to trash my winter tyres in suboptimal temperatures?


Winter tyres work much better in warmer temperatures than summer tyres do in cold temperatures! We live in London, but I always swap the winter tyres in around October/November time when we have the first frosts, and swap them out again usually in March/April.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Szymon wrote:
Page23 wrote:
@Layne, Because the current weather in the south of England is comparable to Autumn - mild and wet. Why would I want to trash my winter tyres in suboptimal temperatures?


Winter tyres work much better in warmer temperatures than summer tyres do in cold temperatures! We live in London, but I always swap the winter tyres in around October/November time when we have the first frosts, and swap them out again usually in March/April.


They also wear out quicker that way. It's not cold at the moment... It's presently 9 degrees at 9am with highs of 12 today and that's been more or less the story since November. If we'd had a particularly cold winter with the threat of consistent ice and snow then I'd have already put them on. At these temperatures, I'll save the tyres and be sure the tread is as good as it can be for the times I need it.
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Szymon wrote:
... We live in London, but I always swap the winter tyres in around October/November time when we have the first frosts....

October/November was first and last so far this "winter"....frost has become something of a rarity round these parts of late.

I went for All Seasons this year.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
This is v helpful
We are driving to champoluc. Taking kids out Friday. Overnight in bourge en brasse and then driving to Aosta day morning.
Can I expect horrendous traffic sat morning 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!
I think from what I've read the main pinch points for you may be toll booths on the A40 towards Chamonix and queuing for the Mont Blanc Tunnel - but you may well be ahead of the worst of the traffic as setting off from Bourg nice and early.

Not expected to be significant traffic on the italian side I don't think as they are not on half term.
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Snowysarah wrote:
This is v helpful
We are driving to champoluc. Taking kids out Friday. Overnight in bourge en brasse and then driving to Aosta day morning.
Can I expect horrendous traffic sat morning there?


Potentially. I would be keen to get going around 6am to miss the worst of it.
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Its a go for half term: travelling down from the frozen wastelands of the north friday early evening (hopefully late afternoon) to stop over Premier Inn Ashford, crossing at stupid o'clock in the early morning (circa 3 hours power nap) then blast down the auto route arriving St Gervais early evening Saturday. Will pass the iron chicken (yet again) whoppeeee!. RAV 4 packed to the gunnels!
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Being based in the Northern Powerhouse, I'm toying with the idea of Hull-Zebrugge out on the Thurs evening, may be a hotel stop around Macon/Lyon, then into Ste Foy on the Saturday.

Then, tunnel for return trip (Flexiplus, so no drama on timings for the crossing).

Has anyone else tried Zeebrugge??
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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.
11 MORE SLEEPS TO WE SET OFF, YIPEEEEEEEEEE

spent the weekend sorting out the truck, roof box installed and ski gear and other equipment sorted, food and other bits and pieces to take with us next week including cooking and freezing a tasty (if I say it myself) beef stew.

I am back working in London until early next week, so had to get everything ready today and yesterday.

all seems really real now, as when I arrived home on Friday to find the lift passes and apartment key waiting for me. must admit I have been worried that the apartment was too good to be true with the price I paid for it for feb half term, but with the key arriving I assume it is all good or one big elaborate ruse!!!

well looking forward to departing next Thursday afternoon, after the girls finish school. will be going to (eventually) les menuires via bourg en bresse and cross country to Albertville on the Friday, will be stopping at the "Poulet" service station for lunch.

will be in a grey Mitsubishi truck, with (hopefully if fitted properly) a roof box on it, so hopefully will see other snowheads on the way down.

happy skiing all

cheers
terry
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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
@Bobcat76, sounds like the very same journey I do but I generally opt for a 08.00 crossing & get a breakfast in me first
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Argh. Just seen people have packing lists and plans. I’ve got neither. We haven’t even got the ski kit out to check yet. And less than two weeks until departure!

Oh and our (brand) new car has a cracked windscreen. That’ll need replacing before we go as well. What a pita
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@AndrewBailey, hope the car is a quick fix.

Put the winter tyres on on Saturday but found a pool of water in the spare wheel well in the process so him indoors ended up dismantling rear lights to check for leaks, that was not on the agenda but hopefully tis now sorted.

11 sleeps to go!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thank you for reminding me the number of sleeps, it keeps me smiling as I have been distracted by work and tax deadlines, and the prompt from others to check snow chains this weekend was really helpful. Done.
Roof box up and (new)ski rack on. Although mine and girls’ skis can go in box, OH’s has to go on the rack, What do people recommend to best protect the open skis?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@DJAT, from theft?

If so, I would recommend loqski.com. Not cheap, £60 per set, but useful on the slopes as well

I had a set already, but ordered 2 more over the weekend, have been despatched already, to protect my girls skis and poles whilst in restaurants etc
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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?
From the weather, roll of cling film. Or pallet wrap if you can get it easily. Warm it up a bit with a heat gun and it will shrink an form a good weather proof seal.
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@terrygasson, I was thinking from the weather, but your advice on theft v useful, thank you. For years we used to swap skis but I didn’t like feeling twitchy in restaurants so bought a lock this year. But I like the look of loqski to include poles etc....

Thank you@Thick As, sounds perfect and easy to do. Will add cling film to shop this week!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
So my plan A is to go via Jura to GSB tunnel and into Aosta. It will be sat late afternoon/evening and really won't want to queue at MBT.

Is it recommended to switch to A40-MB tunnel if the weather is snowy though (1680m Vs 1380m?)

I have winter tyres and chains and secretly hope for fresh snow after scratching around on dodgy pistes for the last couple of new year trips to PDS, but don't want to embark on an epic up a mountain road with the family on board.....
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MBT would be the better bet in snowy conditions.
We drove over the Grand St Bernard during the Xmas snowmaggedon a few years ago and both sides were very dodgy even with winter tyres.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Morning All.

New to the forum, been reading behind the scenes for some time.

We too are joining the cavalcade to the Alps starting Friday 14 arriving in Flaine the following day staying at Le Panoramic. It’s the first time I’ve driven to the Alps (driven through France on several occasions) we’ve used Esprit and SkiFamille mainly before, being based in my home town (well Esprit used to be). But with kids in School and the high cost of ski holidays in half term we’re priced out of that market sadly.

Got the Flexiplus so we’ll aim to get to the tunnel early on Friday morning, bearing in mind it’s a 2 hour drive to get there. I had booked to stay in the IBIS Reims but since Friday is an inset at school I’ve also booked the Novotel Troyes centre it’s only an hour or so further but probably sensible to get as far south on day 1 as we can without causing too much stress to the children (aged 7 and 4).
I think I have thought of everything, enough drinks, food, entertainment for kids, and the Emovis tag. We have winter tyres on a second set of alloys and a wonderfully overpriced set of side fitting snow chains that I desperately hope I do not need to use! We have a Volvo XC60 T5 AWD so with the winters we should do ok in the snow and we're about 175cm high so ok for the Flexiplus lounge.

I’m as relaxed as I can be but still apprehensive about the journey, tunnel, queues, arriving at accommodation and everything that entails being a total self-drive to the Alps and self-catering novice. I don’t worry for me so much but the kids the whole point of this is to be fun if it turns out not to be I can’t expect to put the kids through it again.

Give me a wave if you see a Red Volvo XC60 on the road with a snowboard on the roof and 2 miserable looking children in the back! Possibly a miserable looking 42 year old too
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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!
@James77, if you are at the tunnel early on Friday morning, you will be at Troyes by lunchtime - its about 3 1/2 hours. If you can and I appreciate it may not be possible to find a hotel room so close to departure, I would look to head further south, probably at least to Dijon.

If you do stay in Troyes, don't make the same mistake we made a few years ago and overslept. instead of leaving around 6:30am, we didn't get going to after 8 and all the advantages of an overnight stop evaporated as we ended up in the mad UK/Parisian traffic jam to the Alps Embarassed
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Good luck James77 - this is our third time albeit different approach and different destination this time. I have a 14 and 12 yr olds so there's absolutely no chance of them not looking miserable wink

Hoping for as smooth a journey as we've had previously. A couple of things to be prepared for is how dull the bit between Calais and Troyes is to drive. Seriously nothing much to look at at all. So make sure your travelling companions are prepped to talk to you frequently not just watching DVDs the whole way. Family games are good just to reawaken the drivers brain. Then lots of podcasts for you to listen to.

Other thing is how quickly with the addition of fog driving over there changes from being v easy (I mean in terms of normally light traffic and amazing surfaces compared to UK) to being quite stressful. I know that's the same everwhere but I think the lack of a third lane and large hard shoulder makes it feel far sketchier.
Just accept you will have to slow down and try and relax.
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@knackered knees, makes a really good point @James77. If the kids are off on Friday you are very lucky indeed and I would suggest you get as close as you possibly can, so you can just head up to Flaine early on Saturday, well ahead of the crowds. Troyes is 5.5 hrs from Flaine on a good day and the Saturday of half term is not a good day! You could aim for the new Accor hotels in Sallanches - IBIS and IBIS Budget for Friday night. There is a big Carrefour in Sallanches that you can use for provisions or there is Super U at the bottom of the road up to Flaine, both of which will be better value than buying provisions in Flaine. You would then not need to get up too early and maybe aim for lunch in Flaine (if you have the kids gear handy - they can then start playing in the snow ASAP) and you get ski hire etc all done and dusted before the crowds arrive mid/late afternoon. Like many here with kids, we have done the journey since they were in nappies and they cope well, if they have entertainment and don't drink too too much! Good luck and have fun.
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