Driving in the Alps - not for the faint hearted!

Driving in the Alps - not for the faint hearted!

Ski Holiday Guides

Driving in the Alps - not for the faint hearted!

The French Alps in winter has one of the most severe weather systems in Europe. The risks to you and your loved ones are extremely high. Freezing temperatures, ice and snow can all create very dangerous driving conditions and will have a significant impact on how you drive and react whilst driving up and down your resort. And around the village. You should also bear in mind the type of vehicle suitable for the Alps. Front wheel drive is essential. Four wheel-drive is excellent. Rear wheel drive is dangerous and they will struggle on the roads, with the power at the rear, the front wheels slide and can be a serious challenge to control.

Snow chains are compulsory on access roads to and within resorts and on bad weather days it is likely that police will prevent vehicles from access to the resort if they are not fitted. Fitting snow chains in the dark at -100C and below is not a very pleasant experience. It is vitally important that you practice prior to arriving and always have a torch handy. Snow chains require periodic maintenance. Once broken, they are not only ineffective but they can damage your vehicle considerably. Always carry snow chains and fit them in a safe place before you get stuck! Fit chains in a safe place away from passing traffic, preferably with roadside lighting and on a hard, snow/ice-free surface and definitely before you get stuck.

Snow tyres are brilliant and if safety can be purchased, they are a great investment, going a long way to achieve this. They are made of a different rubber compound than normal tyres, the tread expands and kicks out the snow as you drive along. Snow tyres are a formidable weapon for safe driving in the snow and allow you to drive on most snow-ploughed roads at careful speeds without chains quite safely. When the road has complete and deeper snow cover, snow tyres fitted with snow chains (on the front wheels for front wheel drive) are best practice and definitely “a must” if you are driving with passengers.

In France you are required by law to have spare bulbs, fuses, a warning triangle, two self-breathalyser tests and a first aid kit in your vehicle. A shovel, brush & ice scraper will also be very useful, along with a blanket, an old ski jacket and a pair of waterproof warm gloves (to wear when you are putting your snow chains on).

To summarise:

  1. Bring a 4X4 or front wheel drive only. Leave your rear wheel drive at home.
  2. Don’t bring your car if it has low profile tyres, they are dangerous!
  3. Invest in snow tyres if you can afford them, they have far superior grip and performance in the snow.
  4. Snow-chains are a legal requirement. Buy them, and know how to ft them before you travel.
  5. Ensure your radiator anti-freeze and washer bottle fluid are strong enough before you travel. Repairs for damage will be very expensive as frozen radiators and washer bottles crack.
  6. Swat up on winter driving techniques before you travel.

Bon voyage!

Dec 2020
We haven't yet launched the chalets for this resort online - however we are taking pre-bookings. Get in touch and secure your chalet before we make them available online.
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