So far it has been a fantastic beginning to the winter season in Europe. With the first opening of a few resorts, it is a timely reminder to skiers to organise all the little extras that will make travelling to and from the resort as hassle-free as possible.
In the alpine regions of Switzerland, Italy, and Austria, significant levels of the white stuff have already fallen. Wepowder is predicting that depths in these areas will continue to build, bringing what could be a perfect start to the winter season for many snow lovers.
The increasing snow levels bring with them the possibility of difficult road conditions for many self-drivers, so it is essential to be prepared. In some European countries, it is obligatory to use snow tyres between November and March and most advise carrying a set of chains in high altitude areas in case of extreme weather conditions. If you aren’t properly equipped you could face a fine for causing a road obstruction and the AA recommends double-checking the fine print on your insurance policy for information on liability.
If you are hiring a vehicle, double check that snow tyres or snow chains, or preferably both, are included in your rental package. Car rental company Hertz is one of the larger suppliers who offer a range of snow accessory packages in Switzerland, France, and Austria, which include both winter tyres and chains.
In most snowy conditions, snow tyres are enough, but extreme conditions or steep slopes inevitably require snow chains. Difficult to fit, it is best to be prepared and read the instructions in advance. Or if possible, practice putting them on before you ascend the mountain roads.
The little extras…
Other essential items to make the fitting process easier include a waterproof membrane to lay on the ground, a torch, a spare warm jacket, and gloves. If possible always choose a well-lit layby so you stay safe, away from passing traffic.