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Self drive/self catering newbies: advice wanted

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello

Got back into my skiing a few years back and have been for the last 3 years on the no thought no effort package deal. Me and my wife didn't want to miss our skiing in 2021 due to covid so had a look into building our own holiday and also going with friends.

We have booked a week self catering Valmeinier and crossing on the channel tunnel for me and my wife and my mate and his wife for the beginning of March.

What I am after is any nuggets of advice you may have?

Any tips on the resort as not somewhere that I have been before. I'm a pretty competent skier and wont be in ski school while my wife is transitioning from beginner to intermediate and will be in ski school and our friends have never skied before but are planning lessons on the plastic of Gloucester prior to going.
Any tips on the drive? I know Valmeinier is only a few kms from the motorway but will I need snow chains? Any other useful info on driving/storing my car?
Any tips for self catering? Not self catered before so not sure how well equipped the apartment will be. We'll stock up from the hypermache prior to getting to resort and a slow cooker will be taken with us too.

All useful advice welcome.

Cheers
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You will need snow chains with you. It's highly likely you won't need to use them but if you're unlucky and conditions dictate that you need them, you'll definitely need them. You may also be asked to show you have them.

Expect delays on the drive. If it's your first drive (and you're coming from Cardiff) I'd recommend breaking the journey. day 1 drive to the Tunnel then head for somewhere between Reims and Troyes, get your heads down then get up early for a relaxed drive to resort.

If you're tea drinkers the apartment may not have a kettle (but will almost certainly have a coffee machine of some sort). We don't drink much tea so it doesn't bother us but have friends who take a kettle with them.

Lots of other 'nuggets' of advice but there's three. Other people will have others (and may contradict).
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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?
The best ski days I had at Gloucester dry ski slope were in winter months when it was raining. Slope was usually empty, and no lift queues. The dry mats work better in wet conditions, so provided you have a good anorak it can be great fun in the wet. I usually went mid week in the evenings after work.
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No contention from me, I carry chains whatever other preparations I've got vehicle wise. Not often used, but if you really need them there's not much you can do without them.

It's a good drive along Maurienne valley which generally needs less consideration for big traffic volumes than some others on a busy arrival day. Intermarchè etc (we don't usually take food from here, only things to eat and drink en route, but just shop nearest to arrival for self catering) along the route to ski area if you follow local road as opposed to main toll route that's heading for Frejus Tunnel to Italy. Nice drive too without significant bottlenecks.

Usually we take a route that other's on here note for return, to Chambery, then Belly and on toward Dijon and connect with toll route north. Can be done from Valmeinier to Dijon on local non toll roads to break the monotony of the longer run from Dijon to the channel tunnel if you wish, it's quite picturesque through there and a relaxed drive. Set satnav to non toll and itll route you through Chambery if you pick Belly as waypoint. Intermarchè along there too if you want to booze shop for return. Traffic gets "thicker" in Chambery the later you pass through if travelling Saturday.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Don’t just take chains. Check if you are front or rear wheel drive. Practice putting them on. You’ll be thankful you did if you need to put them on in the dark and with your hands going numb from the cold. Take a piece of cardboard to kneel on and a pair of marigolds to use so as not to dirty up your lovely skiing gloves.
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ster wrote:
Don’t just take chains. Check if you are front or rear wheel drive. Practice putting them on. You’ll be thankful you did if you need to put them on in the dark and with your hands going numb from the cold. Take a piece of cardboard to kneel on and a pair of marigolds to use so as not to dirty up your lovely skiing gloves.


Good idea, I've "upgraded" my cardboard kneeling implement to a couple of flat-ish rubber footwell mats, work well and have the advantage of being immediately found just when you need them Very Happy

Living high on the hog, I know Laughing
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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 climb up to Valmeinier has the obligatory snow chains signs. Legally, you will need them.
Also worth looking on ebay for 2nd hand winter tyres.

Plan your hypermarket stop in advance. Have a choice of 2 or 3 & check the websites for offers to save money.

Valmeinier pass includes an 'discounted upgrade of around €35' for one day to Val Thoren (accessible via Orelle) - so decide if you want to make use of that or not!
The resort has its own bowl like ski area, then a shared mountain with Valloire & Valloire also has its own mountain slopes.
Hope you don't mind heights, as one of the lifts from Valmeiner to the shared mountain goes over a gorge! - no gondolas valmeinier side
Valmeinier is a purpose built resort - so commerical property tend to be on the ground floor of residential properties.
Valloire on the other hand, is a working town 365 days of the year.
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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!
Take tea bags, dishwasher tablets and a sharp knife. And check FOR SURE whether you need to either take, or rent locally, bed linen, towels etc. This is not normally provided in French apartments. If your friends make good progress on the ski slope they might be able to join your wife in ski school, which would be sociable. You will be able to get the evening meal organised and into the slow cooker before going out to have a quick ski, join them after their lesson and have lunch (back at the apartment, if restaurants are still closed.....).

And yes, you need snowchains as the police will stop you proceeding without them, if it's snowy (as you hope it will be!). The first week of March is still French school holidays but after that things should be pleasantly quiet.
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By beginning of March do you mean March 6th. If so excellent choice as theat is the weekend the French holidays end.

Snow chains advisable. Winter tyres would be good also. Make sure the car has sufficient anti-freeze, high strength washer water, etc.

Don't forget to do your tyre pressure for a fully loaded car.

Get a doofer (search doofer - lot's of threads).

Resorts like Valmeinier free on street parking usually not an issue. Ideally take a small shovel and brush in case you get a snow dump in the week and have to dig the car out.

You have three options - drive overnight, split driving over two days and get accommodation, drive in the day. The former two have the potential to get you two extra days skiing. We generally drive overnight sharing the driving arriving in resort Saturday morning and leaving when lifts close on the Saturday. Others like to leave earlier Friday, do the majority of the driving in the evening, stay in a Hotel and have a short drive Saturday. And reverse Sunday. Some are not bothered by skiing the Saturdays. The Saturdays are often a good day to ski because of the number of people that use it has a travel day and hence slopes are quiet.

We do a supermarket shop close to resort - in your case it would be probably be Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - to get the bulk of stuff needed for the week and then just buy bread and bits in resort.

Apartment kit can be a bit variable but we've always managed. We often take a good kitchen knife. We usually take first days meal (defrosts on the journey!) and a few snacks in tupperware which means we have some tupperware for our day picnic and to store leftovers, etc. in the fridge.
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Poshprop wrote:
but are planning lessons on the plastic of Gloucester prior to going.


Is Cardiff Ski slope closed?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
As others have said, there's a choice of supermarkets in Saint Jean de Maurienne and a Carrefour in St Martin d'Arc. I've considered doing click and collect in the past but decided against as it's hard to judge arrival time.

I'd regard a decent kitchen knife as an essential item.
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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.
@Poshprop, You'll find lots of conflicting advice on this forum about whether to get a autoroute transceiver, where to stop if you want to break the journey if you want to and even which routes to take. It's all well meant but it is all really experienced travellers swapping tales about what they think is the best for them. Read the posts, the half term drive down real time blogs are probably the most informative, but don't get too worried about them. To me the most important part is to simply relax and enjoy the journey. Mind you the advice about taking snow chains is spot on. You will almost certainly not need them but if you do there is no alternative.

We drive to Les Arcs in the winter once or twice every year and just park the car on the street outside our apartment. Digging it out sometimes at the end of the trip can be a problem with 1.5m of snow on top of it, but it has always started first time and provided I have remeberd max strength washer fluid everthing has worked just fine. But take a small snow shovel with you just incase. It is a very long job with just a bum sledge.

I cannot offer any advice on Valmeinier. The only time we went there was no snow at all and we were bussed to Val Frejus every day. I quite liked the village itself, however, but then I like purpose built ski reasorts.

Advice for self catering, well there is lots on this forum, ranging from cook all meals in advance and freeze them to buy what you need from the village shop as and when you need it. My advice would be:
Yes take the slow cooker. Fill it up with beef, onions, mushrooms and red wine when you leave in the morning and you'll have a lovely meal when you get back. If you have a modern smart one that can also act as a pressure cooker so much the better.
Take at least one very sharp knife. The ones in the apartment will be blunt.
Take small packs of washing up liquid, dish washer tablets, salt, pepper, herbs and spices and scourer. The apartment will almost certainly have them but they may not or may run out while you are there.
I always have a bottle of milk with me - but then we usually arrive between 20:00 and 08:00
Expect the unexpected. A friend of mine had never seen a salad spinner before.
The shop in the village may rent out fondue, pirraide etc equipment.

Finally enjoy the dry slope lessons. They will be very useful even for beginners in the resort, but may I ask why Gloucester and not Cardiff ski slope?
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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
gorilla wrote:
As others have said, there's a choice of supermarkets in Saint Jean de Maurienne and a Carrefour in St Martin d'Arc. I've considered doing click and collect in the past but decided against as it's hard to judge arrival time.

I'd regard a decent kitchen knife as an essential item.


there is a carrefour in St Michel de maurienne with a petrol station as well.
This is the last chance before Valmeinier, but I would think the Intermarche & Casino Hypermarche in St Jean are bigger.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
As most have said, snow chains (or socks), sharp knife, condiments, washing up liquid, dishcloths/scourers, dishwasher tablets, tea bags, coffee filters, slow cooker, cork screw (very important), either icebags or ice cube tray, bottle of gin (or other UK centric spirit of your choice and mixers). We also tend to pack dry groceries- pasta, rice etc

I always find that using street view for an idea of what the accommodation looks like is worthwhile - family think I'm a genius when I pull in at the apartment Very Happy

We usually book a restaurant for the evening arrival, but that's not probably going to be an issue this year and we go at half term.

If you can agree on the playlist before you leave, or if one of the party has differing tastes get the or you to take headphones. You may want to take some DVDs if bars/restaurants are closed in the evenings.

Sense of adventure and fun. It's a holiday and make the journey part of this. I've flown, been on the train, but I prefer to drive to the Alpes. It's great when you start to see the mountains, then the snow...real anticipation snowHead snowHead snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Two things we don’t set out without:

In car kettle. Ours is like a thermos with a screw on top so even if we knock it over it doesn’t spill. Hot drinks (and those posh Japanese pot noodles they sell in supermarkets) on demand.

Car fridge - if you’ve got space. Means that you’re not hunting about for meals at the end of day 1.

And you can get an adaptor so you can power both off the mains in your overnight hotel.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Matt1959 wrote:


And you can get an adaptor so you can power both off the mains in your overnight hotel.


Forgot to say gang extension lead so you only need 1 UK - Europe adaptor and then plug in all your devices
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for the advice so far folks.

Regarding the drive. We will be setting out from Herefordshire on Fri 5th Mar to Folkstone for a midnight channel tunnel and then drive through the night to arrive in resort on the Saturday afternoon. There are 4 of us in the car and we all have experience of driving on the continent so we plan to power through and have multi coffee breaks!
I will be adding snow chains to my Christmas list (and keeping an eye on ebay). I will definitely practice putting them on too

Mr Egg & JohnE Not sure on Cardiff slope but my friends who are having the lessons are in Herefordshire and Gloucester prob a bit closer and also in my mind a much better slope. Actually much prefer Pontypool to Cardiff.

Keep the advice coming

Cheers
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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?
knackered knees wrote:
Matt1959 wrote:


And you can get an adaptor so you can power both off the mains in your overnight hotel.


Forgot to say gang extension lead so you only need 1 UK - Europe adaptor and then plug in all your devices


+1 on that! One of the most useful pieces of advice I was given. Simple but effective, especially with 2 phones and a wad of tablets
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FrediKanoute wrote:
knackered knees wrote:
Matt1959 wrote:


And you can get an adaptor so you can power both off the mains in your overnight hotel.


Forgot to say gang extension lead so you only need 1 UK - Europe adaptor and then plug in all your devices


+1 on that! One of the most useful pieces of advice I was given. Simple but effective, especially with 2 phones and a wad of tablets


amazon sell them with an EU plug, so you dont even need an adapter Wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Get an autoroute toll tag from https://www.emovis-tag.co.uk/ to save faffing around with cards/money.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Head torch for putting the chains on.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Consider snow socks, as they are quicker to fit - chains are fine, but can be a bit fiddly. I'd recommend taking out an AA five star European breakdown cover policy or similar, if this is not already on the list, and the Emovis tag already mentioned is definitely worth having.
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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!
thunderer wrote:
Head torch for putting the chains on.
Good shout
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Poshprop wrote:
thunderer wrote:
Head torch for putting the chains on.
Good shout


Just a torch will do. Why should you be out in the cold and potential blizzard when the others are tucked up in a warm car. Get one of them to hold the torch Twisted Evil
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Poshprop wrote:
Regarding the drive. We will be setting out from Herefordshire on Fri 5th Mar to Folkstone for a midnight channel tunnel and then drive through the night to arrive in resort on the Saturday afternoon. There are 4 of us in the car and we all have experience of driving on the continent so we plan to power through and have multi coffee breaks!


Google maps reckons 9hrs from Calais to Valmenir, which is what my finger in the air guess was before I checked. A midnight chunnel puts you in France for 2AM local, so you'd expect to be in resort by 11AM. Even with a few fuel/rest/coffee stops you ought to be there before 1PM.

Personally, I wouldn't do it that way. I'd aim to get from Hereford to somewhere in northern France (Between Calais and Reims, Cambrai sort of area) by midnight local, have perhaps 6 hours kip in a cheapish hotel, and then start out about 6AM to complete the journey. The timings will put you near the Metal Chicken in time for an early Lunch, followed by a big shop in a hypermarket of your choice before attacking the North face of the road up to resort. The daylight will be much longer by then than they are in the depths of winter, so if the weather is bad you should still be able to make it up in daylight. The only other consideration is traffic, but unless you plan to get there before noon you're going to be in the midst of it either way, and I'd prefer 6 hour kip under my belt when dealing with that.

I have done non stop from Somerset to Tignes several times, and I'd guess it's much the same time from Hereford to Folkestone as it is for us - about 3 hrs. If the weather is bad on the last bit of the trip then you do really need to be alert and if you've been driving through the night virtually non stop for 15 hours..... I now stop at my sisters Gaff in London, leave about 4AM, get the 6AM chunnel and we're in Tignes for 7PM usually.

Poshprop wrote:

I will be adding snow chains to my Christmas list (and keeping an eye on ebay). I will definitely practice putting them on too


Providing your car has a fairly standard tyre size you can get chains in any of the large Hypermarkets between Lyon and resort, although you can't practice putting them on beforehand. Depends how mechanically savvy you are. Costs are 50-100 Euros a set - and often cheaper than a weeks rental from a hire car company - not that it matters to you.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Increase the antifreezed-screenwash concentration up progressively before the trip, so that it's at the right concentration right down to the nozzles before you travel. Take some screen wash concentrate with you for top-ups: it can rapidly deplete on a long drive. Get a snow brush of some sort for the front window (there are loads of extending ones cheap on the internet). If you're parking the car outside, a sun screen/frost screen to go on the outside of the windscreen, and cover over the wipers and the gap between the wipers and the bonnet so the air intakes are clear if it snows while parked-up. The head torch is going to be useful, but perhaps also a small plug-in rechargeable torch as well. Perhaps consider separate driving vs outdoor shoes/boots, so if you do have to go out in snow the driving shoes are comfortable when you're back in the car. And all this stuff needs to be handy, not buried under the luggage (easier said than done, I know). I seem to recall that a spare bulb set is mandatory, as well as sensible.

A good site discussing driving documentation needs (like V5C, Green Card, drivers' IDP etc.), Crit'air certificates, insurance, winter tyres, chains and other issues is on the AA Website. It also has a good section on French road signage and protocols.

Re your chains: before you buy, check what your Owners Manual says about the wheels fitted to your car, as to whether they can take chains at all - many SUVs and performance models don't have the space behind the wheels for chains to rotate. The first time you try them out, use the spare wheel if you have one before trying them on the car's wheel. It's much easier to manoeuvre everything and gives a clear idea of how they're meant to fit on the inside of the wheel. You may also need to adjust the links to your specific wheel size first (some that fit a very wide range of sizes are like this). When you re-pack them, it can sometimes be useful to separate the two sets with a plastic sheet so they dont' turn into chain spaghetti in transit.

I take an Explo-safe™ 5 litre petrol can in the car. Eurotunnel allow full fuel containers to be carried up to certain Limits. This is just so that I have a back-up if the driver misjudges the right place to fill-up and it's longer than expected to the next service station. And if your car is a diesel, and especially if it's parked outside over the holiday, you may want to work it so that you re-fuel at an Alpine service station that will have low(er)-temperature additives included.

We do have an Emovis Liber-t toll tag. They are transferable to any person or vehicle of the same class - I lend ours to relatives for their own trips and we split the annual fee between us. I've taken it with me when fly-driving to France to use in the hire car. TBH even when it's quiet, it's simply more convenient to sail through the péages. And there's always the fun to be had when being tailgated by a GB-plated Bentley into a tag-only lane, when they realise they may have a £100,000 car but they don't have a €20 tag .....


Last edited by snowHeads are a friendly bunch. on Mon 30-11-20 17:25; edited 8 times in total
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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.
Poshprop wrote:
Thanks for the advice so far folks.

Regarding the drive. We will be setting out from Herefordshire on Fri 5th Mar to Folkstone for a midnight channel tunnel and then drive through the night to arrive in resort on the Saturday afternoon. There are 4 of us in the car and we all have experience of driving on the continent so we plan to power through and have multi coffee breaks!
I will be adding snow chains to my Christmas list (and keeping an eye on ebay). I will definitely practice putting them on too

Mr Egg & JohnE Not sure on Cardiff slope but my friends who are having the lessons are in Herefordshire and Gloucester prob a bit closer and also in my mind a much better slope. Actually much prefer Pontypool to Cardiff.

Keep the advice coming

Cheers


We do similar to that (although 70 miles from home to tunnel) M25 and onward has always been ok for us from 20.00hr with low traffic then onwards on Friday nights.
If your journey goes well to tunnel, then early check in they will usually put you on first available train as it's not generally busy that time of year, so worthwhile trying rather than waiting for schedule.

I like the drive through the night and towards dawn, it generally being a peaceful time to travel.
All auto route services are fine for hot drinks etc at any time of night.
They usually have stacks of winter temp screen wash too at not bad cost if you need additional supply.

No particular reason for not using toll tag for us, but it's mostly two sections (Calais to Reims and Reims to Past Dijon) that are principle route. That's fine with others in the car if you don't get one. No biggy and almost nobody there at night so wouldn't prioritise if not worried as you've only got to "dip" a payment card and ticket.
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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
Particularly if you’re driving through the night, DEFINITELY get a toll tag, otherwise (unless you want the driver to run round the car at each toll) your driver’s side passenger will have to stay awake to pay/grab a ticket at each barrier.
Having done the late tunnel option once, then trying a catnap in the car at a small aire at 2am, I can honestly say we arrived more jaded, grumpy and tired than we would have with a hotel stop in northern France. (We are lucky to live just over an hour from the tunnel though, and tend to leave home at 5.15am to arrive by 6pm). If you aren’t planning to ski on the Saturday, it may be worth looking for a cheap hotel an hour the other side of the tunnel.
Take your own pillow (unless you really love those horrid doingy things they provide in apartments). Goodfor snoozing on the drive down too. Given COVID is unlikely to have vanished by March, it might also feel nicer having your own.
We like to have a pre prepared frozen meal on hand for when we arrive..experience suggests it will have barely defrosted by the time time you get there.
French options on tonic water are pretty dire, so if you take gin and are partial to posh tonic, take your own!

Pre book skis and boots, likewise lift passes. I can’t speak for Valmenier, but these days you can get lift passes sent out before you arrive, one less job for day one, and avoids queuing in confined spaces ( I assume the tour ops still did that for you on the package deal).
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

unless you want the driver to run round the car at each toll

There aren't many tolls - this is not a huge hardship, TBH. When I drove without a tag, alone, I found getting out and running round at 2 am, in the cold and dark, was a bit of a pain but helped to counteract any sleepiness! Agree with taking pillows - the ones in apartments are invariably horrid and full of foam chips.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
One of my absolute favourite snowHead tips was to take some cooking tongs for the driver to reach the ticket machine from driver's seat Very Happy

Presumably those with the silicone tips to get good purchase on said ticket. Still gives me a laugh.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

take some cooking tongs for the driver

That did make me laugh, too. What with all the other clutter one has in the car when driving down..... getting out and walking round really wasn't a huge hardship, though when there was another car waiting behind me I always did try to give an apologetic wave! The seat beside me, as a lone driver, often had various snack options, some of them quite messy, a phone (for transmitting the essential audio books to the radio system), a box of tissues - but not a cooking tongs!! On the arguments about driving through or stopping overnight, I am agnostic. Sometimes, driving alone, I drove straight through - south east Hampshire to the Alps in one hit - sometimes I stopped. But I never made irrevocable decisions in advance, depending on how I felt and, above all, on the weather. Heavy fog on the autoroute is lethal - and being stuck at 30 mph behind a snow plough is not to be recommended, either. Both happened to me, and sent me off to find a hotel. One great advantage of driving alone is that I could decide for myself. But I did have the luxury of NOT driving at peak times. And never Friday/Saturday. And I always knew not only that I had snow chains accessible in the back, but that I could put them on, without help, in a couple of minutes! that's a good feeling. Putting snowchains on when driving up to the mountains, especially after a long drive, is a masochistic pleasure. Putting them on on the drive back down is an unmitigated pain. And it can be surprisingly difficult to find somewhere suitable to take them off.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've sold my apartment. People keep saying to me "I bet you're glad not to be doing that drive any more". But the truth is, I miss it. Sad, I know...... but it was a great feeling of satisfaction to get down there, open up the apartment, put the heating on and open a bottle of wine. Open the terrace doors and look at a sky full of stars. Usually at around midnight.
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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?
knackered knees wrote:
Poshprop wrote:
thunderer wrote:
Head torch for putting the chains on.
Good shout


Just a torch will do. Why should you be out in the cold and potential blizzard when the others are tucked up in a warm car. Get one of them to hold the torch Twisted Evil


Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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When I was driving with my OH he and I would always take one wheel each. And I always won. Evil or Very Mad He never stayed in the car when I struggled out in the cold, and always held the torch for me when I finished putting the chain on his wheel...... Little Angel
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
We always time our journeys to give us 8 days skiing by travelling out on the Friday to within 20-30 miles of the resort, up early on the Saturday up to the resort and ski until late afternoon then check into accommodation. On the return, check out early, go skiing until mid-late afternoon then drive north a couple of hours to a hotel and then complete journey home on the Sunday.

Whilst the first Saturday probably won't suit you with the beginners in your party, the extra day on the end could be attractive. It would also mean not being involved in the lemming like rush out of the mountains on the Saturday morning.

Lots of arguments here about the tag, the only people I have seen arguing against having them appear to not have them themselves and those of us who do will never want to go back to being without.
ski holidays
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I must be very lucky, all I do is pack car so I can see out of the rear window , then head off. I do or take no more than I do when doing school run
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Some good advice above, especially the slow cooker. You can take it with a ready done frozen casserole in the pot for the first night as it'll take a long time to defrost if you put it in the roof box. In addition I've started taking some dishwasher rinse aid and salt - rental property dishwashers never have this in and if it's the difference between getting good results for the week rather than having to spend my hols hand washing stuff then it's worth adding it to the list.
ski holidays
 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:

Lots of arguments here about the tag, the only people I have seen arguing against having them appear to not have them themselves and those of us who do will never want to go back to being without.

I have also noticed that the people advocating them have paid out for them. Strange that.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
I got a péage tag, and snow tyres, because I drove back and forth to the Alps several times each year for 15 years, the last few years mostly on my own and spent 10 - 12 weeks every winter at 1500m up a steep hill. I had snow tyres for the same reason. TBH, if I was just doing a one-off trip, I probably wouldn't have either. I would not feel too upset about getting out of the car a few times to pick up a ticket or shove my credit card in a slot, and I would have snowchains ready to put on at the first sign of any loss of traction.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
johnE wrote:
Quote:

Lots of arguments here about the tag, the only people I have seen arguing against having them appear to not have them themselves and those of us who do will never want to go back to being without.

I have also noticed that the people advocating them have paid out for them. Strange that.


Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

I'm ambivalent about it, but as stated above it's only the two iterations for most of the French ski areas. Reims is about 250 miles out from home for me so plenty of snooze time for passengers, with the next section from there to the Alps.

As the OP has stated, they are driving through the night sharing drivers and not stopping off route. The above is in proportion to their question.

They'll soon agree yay-or-nay as to the arduous Very Happy nature of using a ticket machine over one trip. It really isn't a life changer, given the itinerary, as some project.
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