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Driving down for Feb half term

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@MHskier,

Hang in there!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We got the 22.20 eurotunnel crossing on Friday night, arrived into France about midnight

Drove through the night, had a couple of sleep stops and got to Macon about 08.30

Thought we were doing well but from Lyon airport all the way to the (stupid) traffic lights outside of moutiers was very heavy traffic

Finally got to Les Menuires about 3.30pm today

So a Long trip, but all seems worth it now we’ve picked up our hire skis and had our first beer!
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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?
@JONR, wow, that seems some hold up from being relatively close at that time. What was the issue?
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I was keeping a keen eye out for Toofy Grin stickers but didn’t see any.

I’m getting one for the roofbox.

I keep looking out for SN04BUS - no joy yet!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
So much for an easy journey. Despite leaving Reims at 8 not in Les gets till 5
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http://youtube.com/v/2ItCGb02dLE

From Facebook.
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@jbob,

Nice - impressed you’ve already made a video!!!
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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!
Page23

There are some traffic lights outside of moutiers which are only turned on to “regulate” traffic

I guess to stop moutiers from becoming gridlocked

Last two t8mes I’ve driven at half term the traffic lights have been turned on. This time they caused a couple of hours delay

I think it was 2016 or 2017 when it took 8 hours to get from bourg en Bresse to les Menuires because of the traffic caused by these lights and the toll booths beinG at capacity
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We had a shocker. Set off from Chalons en Champagne at 07:30, arrived Tignes 18:00. Previous years we'd have been in resort by 14:30 latest.
Oh at the F1 hotel was an all time low - 2 am someone tried entering our room, even had the correct door code, lucky we used the security lock. A quick FU seen em off, but I will be having words as to how someone else was booked in the same room.
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We finally rolled into les Contamines about 5pm after setting off from the night halt just before 9am.

Satnav was working on some crazy work around via Switzerland, but we stuck with the A40 and crept along, occasionally laughing at the VW Satnav pronunciation of Grenoble as Gre-nobbly.

More annoying than anything is that because we were later arriving, all the parking at the accommodation is taken, so the wagon is 10 mins walk down the road... And @always29 has left her charging cable in it.
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@kenloen, Sounds terrible to have someone attempt entry at 2am. Glad you made it. Fingers crossed for an incident free half term.

The Moutier lights and the gendarmes stopping work arounds slowed people up. Sat Nav systems would have been more encouraging than usual for taking an alternative route as they saw no-one on the side roads at all.
Thx to all who encouraged me to try to overnight drive down (solo!). Starting to wish I had the automatic cruise control in the car though. Hours of motorway driving....and an hour of stop start traffic is what that is designed for. Costs the same as wheels and winter tyres though...
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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.
Didn't drive - plane landed at Chambery about 11:20CET - 20 minutes late but no biggie. However, we didn't leave CMF till nearly 2PM, partly due to an extinction rebellion protest blocking the main entrance/exit. Coach driver then took the (very busy) back roads to avoid the peages, even though you could see the motorway was flowing freely at that point. Recon that added at least 30 minutes to the trip.

Then it all ground to a halt between Albertville and Moutiere - probably 2 hours to get through the lights just north of Albertville.

Free flowing from after the lights to about 10km before the Tunnel de Siaix, and another hour to get through those lights.

Then the bus driver ran out of hours on the taco, so we had to stop for 45 minutes in Bourg train station whilst he had a fag break.

Finally got to Tignes le Lac around 20:30. I make that 9.5 hours from Chambery. Should be 3 hours , plus 3 hours for traffic, 2 hours for tour operation incompetence (that's you Crystal), 45 minutes for EU rules and regulations and 30 minutes for bus driver cheap-skateness.

Still we're here now.
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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 without the Swiss sector it would have been a decent journey.

We lost 2-3 hours queuing into Ch and in jams round montrieux. Former was mainly caused by the vignette sellers at the border post. On Ch driver accidentally got asked to buy one and looked ready to kill the man.

Loved the Jura in the setting sun and the GSB was a doddle. Ready to see what the day brings at Pila as both me and mrs MHS are not bodily that great atm
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
This weekend into the Tarentaise there were 36000 vehicles arriving and 30000 leaving .they have to have the regulating lights before Moutier and the Siax tunnel or there would be chaos further along the valley . It’s the same every year during the busy weeks and yesterday was no different . The only way to avoid is to arrive Friday , you still pick up some traffic Geneva , Chambery, Annacy , or arrive Sunday .
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Son and family had decided to spend Friday night in Annecy on the way down. They left at approx 9am on Saturday and it took them 4.5 hrs to get up to Tignes.
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Not surprised. They needed to leave much earlier or much later to have a quick drive up the mountain.
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@Judwin, 9 hours from Chambery? Wow. Just wow. Super busy on the road up but at least it wasn’t busy on the slopes. We were out skiing today in Val d’Isere and we only had to queue for more than a couple of minutes for one lift.
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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?
Sounds like Judwin's bus was run by the Cheep 'n' Nasty bus company. Taking the back roads saves tolls but time, wear and tear and fuel consumption all suffer.
But it could have been worse - what if it had stopped at Aire de Langon (small, expensive) or the pole dancing club outside Albertville?
I've no axe to grind for Crystal but you can't blame them for anti-sociial hooligans blocking the airport. Also, you've seen how these hooligans should be treated!
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Quick question for the drive back, our ferry leaves Calais at 8pm on Saturday night, we're in Tignes Les Brevieres and planning on leaving the apartment at 5am. We'll be driving straight through the day with a couple of stops for driver changes etc. Does this sound about right?
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@jclem, 5am sounds about right. 9 hour perfect drive (@ 110km/h on autoroute) plus 2-3 hours of stops, gives a bit of headroom for jams in the Alps, and you may find you're put on an earlier ferry (at worst, a later one).
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I left Saint-Foy (down the valley from Tignes) 7am and made Eurotunnel 6ish. That was Christmas week, so less busy than half term. 5am sounds about right.
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your giving yourself 15 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!, I could nearly be back in Edinburgh in that time from StG. the roads must be seriously busy
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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!
Quote:

9 hour perfect drive (@ 110km/h on autoroute) plus 2-3 hours of stops

9 hours would be a very perfect drive, but we have never managed it. From Les Arcs it takes between 9:15 and 9:30 including stops to change driver, refuel, urinate etc. We allow 10 hours usually. But these times are not when over 30,000 other cars are leaving, most heading for the Paris area. 5am may be a good time to leave. Or why not pack the car up, have a day's skiing and leave at 5pm?

@Nemisis, what have you got againist Polish people dancing?
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@jbob, Loved that! How did you make it? GoPro, dashcam? Did you really record 14 hours, or is there a "timelapse" setting that doesn't take up too much memory?

I'd love to do that for my drive Lisbon - Andorra, I find the changes in scenery across Spain fascinating. I was even driving daughter (family) 2.5 hours to Algarve last weekend and even there it's interesting to see the topography changing. Daughter remembered from last year the "mountains" guarding the Algarve that slowed the Christians conquering the Moors a thousand years ago.

Safe trip back everyone.
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@jclem, yep sounds like a good plan. Get out of resort before the worst of it. But be prepared for long queues for fuel and toilets stops, i.e. don't let them get desperate!
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@jclem, you will easily beat those times which is fine. The ferry companies are very flexible (unlike the horrifying descriptions I hear about Eurotunnel) and will always put you on the first available ferry which will probably be closer to 4-5pm. They couldn't give a monkey's about which boat they put you on and the ops team are (delightfully) separate from the marketing team (who actually don't really care which boat you get on, either).

I normally travel using a P&O 'Season Ticket' (i.e frequent traveller rate) and every time I ring to book a space they emphasise that they are flexible and I shouldn't take the booked time too seriously. Many years ago I was a fan of the tunnel but I can't imagine going back to them now - too much hassle.
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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.
@Alastair, though I've never had a problem being put on an earlier ferry I have been put off by their booking conditions which do not mentioned this when booking and say you have to be on the ferry you have booked. It is one of the reasons I usully use the tunnel which explicitly states a 4 hour window. They do not mentioned even if you arrive on time the train you end up on could be a couple hours later. To be fair these massive delays are no where near as frequent as they used to be.

How's the skiing BTW
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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
Thank you all for the replies, was awake at 6am this morning and couldn't stop thinking about it!
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You know it makes sense.
@jclem, I have written a long explanation to johnE but severely regret that a long response for you was inadvertently destroyed by the snowHeads hamsters. Sadly I am not the first and anticipate I will shortly give up on snowHeads as other long comments have gone the same way.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Alastair, we'll miss you if you give up on snowheads. Incidently I write my long responses on a word processor and paste them into snowheads
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@jclem, @Alastair, I use the DFDS ferry multi-trip which is also fully flexible right up to and past booked departure. One occasion got to Dover, checked in to ferry, between check-in and assembly area the turbo blew up. Green Flag recovered us to home, DFDS swapped the crossing to a different car for the following day with no fuss.
We have used the train on one occasion when we had a ferry booked but the night before the forecast was for a storm force 9 with Dover docks being closed so rang up got them to put the booking back on hold to be used later in the year and booked the train instead. While efficient enough, we drove straight through check-in and onto the train, we found the experience pretty soulless and although the actual crossing was quicker it made no discernible difference to total journey time from home to Alps.

I also have lost a few long posts to the hamsters, I always copy before pressing submit.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Alastair wrote:
@jclem, I have written a long explanation to johnE but severely regret that a long response for you was inadvertently destroyed by the snowHeads hamsters. Sadly I am not the first and anticipate I will shortly give up on snowHeads as other long comments have gone the same way.

Interesting. I haven't had this problem.

Are you sure it's Snowheads and not a browser/device issues?
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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?
I had the problem a couple of years ago, so when I do long responses (like the Friday weather and travel for Tignes) I hit submit half way through and then edit.
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I just copy and what i have written a time or two as i write as a back up, then if it does get lost i can just paste it back.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Unless you live in the north of england or scotland I dont understand why anyone would battle with Saturday traffic from anywhere in the Alps. We always ski all day Saturday, then overnight in the first convenient location, usually Friedrichhafen from the Arlberg then head home to the uk on Sunday when the traffic is a lot lighter.
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@jw83113, personal preference I guess. We like to have a night at home and a relaxed Sunday before return to work.

Leaving early, around 5, I’ve never had to battle traffic. Usually we’re at home by 8pm (Midlands) and enjoying a takeaway
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Currently in stationary traffic at Bellentre near Aime - anyone know what’s going on ? I was expecting bad traffic but this is taking the p***
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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!
Boris wrote:
@jw83113, personal preference I guess. We like to have a night at home and a relaxed Sunday before return to work.

Leaving early, around 5, I’ve never had to battle traffic. Usually we’re at home by 8pm (Midlands) and enjoying a takeaway


Yeah arriving back on sunday evening does make the holiday to work transition a bit extreme so I see your point.

However im now off to the pistes after packing the car. I wouldn't swap that for a queue on the s16 out of arlberg.
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I simply start work an hour or two later on the Monday, the boss totally approves as she has also been away on the holiday , one benefit of being self employed. We drive back to N England from somewhere near Troyes on the Sunday having skied all of the Saturday.
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Quote:

Currently in stationary traffic at Bellentre near Aime - anyone know what’s going on ? I was expecting bad traffic but this is taking the p***

I'd expect to spend a fair bit of time stationary on the drive back at half term at this time of day - leaving very early or much later is the only way to be reasonably sure of avoiding it.
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