1st Time Snow Driving!

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Sherridan Hicks, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Sherridan Hicks

    Sherridan Hicks Just Registered

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    Hi all!

    We are headed down from Newcastle for our first family snow trip next month. We have accommodation booked at Adaminaby, though Hubby is hesitant about the drive up to Selwyn Snow Fields.

    We will be travelling in my 2wd Hyundai i30.

    Can anyone shed any light on the drive up and down.. is it really as "scary" as some "snow driving" sites make it sound?

    We are trying to have a great budget family holiday! BUT would it be better for us to stay at Jindabyne/Berridale and catch the tube?

    Thank you!!!! x
     
  2. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    Selwyn is a doddle. Hire chains, but the road is straight and the grades are gentle.

    have a look at a map, but the Tube is a decent drive from Adaminaby. Selwyn is perfect for beginners.
     
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  3. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    http://www.selwynsnow.com.au/drivinginthesnow

    you can rent chains from a number of places along the way, but look at say Rhythm in Cooma.

    There's a good chance you won't need to fit them, but carrying them is essential, just in case.
     
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  4. Sherridan Hicks

    Sherridan Hicks Just Registered

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    Thank you for the replies!! I have read an article that mentioned things like anti freeze and the like for your car. Is all of this essential for the drive and parking at the ski fields? (Not putting the park brake on etc.)
     
  5. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    The coolant in most modern cars does not require antifreeze. Get someone in Cooma to check. Park brake is debatable - there are stories but it is hard to find anyone who has actually had the problem. To be safe, leave the car in gear or park and leave the brake off.
     
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  6. cqen2l

    cqen2l Part of the Furniture
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    I've had the manual park brake freeze solid many many years ago at Hotham. Cable gets wet and freezes and doesn't release. Requires crawling under the car to manually break the ice on the cable. Was a rookie error never repeated.
     
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  7. nfip

    nfip Part of the Furniture
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    Relax !!!.
    Drive smooth.
    No hard brake , turns or acceleration.
    Sit in your cars happy gear / happy revs if the road looks a bit "iffy ".
    Take home point keep it nice and easy , take time.
    You'll need chains as above
     
  8. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Dedicated Member

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    The skitube and Selwyn are not interconnected and nowhere near each other. The skitube will take you to Perisher and Blue Cow. Selwyn is only accessible by road (or parachute).
     
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  9. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    And dont follow the car in front too closely
     
  10. LMB

    LMB Old And Crusty
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    And remember to have fun!!
     
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  11. Nightskywatcher

    Nightskywatcher Active Member

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    The only other one to watch out for is "black ice", dew or moisture that freezes on the road overnight and creates a thin slippery surface on top of the road, almost impossible to see. You can especially find it in the shadowed areas of the roads in the morning on the way up to Selwyn. Like others have said, take it easy on corners and in general.
     
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  12. alexd

    alexd Dedicated Member

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    One thing to try, that my parents and I always try when the road is snowy or icy, is to find a straight section of road with no one on it, and slam on the brakes from some reasonable speed, say 30-60 kph. This is pretty safe as long as you keep the wheel straight and aren't going too fast, or are near a drop-off/ditch. You can get a better sense of the traction available to your tyres in those conditions, and you can see how your ABS responds as well. Compare to a dry road and you'll have a good idea of what you can expect from your tyres.
     
  13. snowtyres

    snowtyres Active Member
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    Good advice alexd....here is a little more to add to your suggestion..

    http://snowtyres.com.au/safety/checking-your-winter-grip/
     
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  14. Stephen James Allen

    Stephen James Allen Active Member

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    You could always hire one of those autonomous cars, they are quite popular. LOL
     
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  15. Nightskywatcher

    Nightskywatcher Active Member

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    She already has an autonomous car ......... and driver :p

    "hubby, can you please drive us to the snow?"
     
  16. Sherridan Hicks

    Sherridan Hicks Just Registered

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    Lol! Thanks all for putting my mind at ease. I all doesn't sound too bad at all. I am sure it'll be fine! It shall be a great little family trip ;-)

    Although! Watching the Selwyn Snow Cams, there isn't much going on at the moment.. We've still got 4 weeks until we arrive though so I am hoping temps drop a little and more snow hits the ground!!

    I am actually considering changing the booking until the weekend of the 1st of Sept..

    Has anyone got the skinny on when they should expect more snow up there?
     
  17. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Part of the Furniture
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    At any time from now to October.
     
  18. Seafm

    Seafm Dedicated Member
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    If you were doing Perisher I'd say go for it.
     
  19. iagreewithhim

    iagreewithhim Dedicated Member

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    Stick with July. Even if there isn't much snow, what there is should be good. September will be mushy except for the first morning after a dump (if you get one).
     
  20. DaveM

    DaveM Active Member

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    Selwyn is usually best July/August.

    If there is snow on the road go SLOOOOWW, if it appears to be icy - GO SLOW otherwise it's NORMAL EVERYDAY driving.

    For a season I drove up n back every day. Only RARELY was it a problem. MOST DAYS there is no snow nor ice on the road, if there is, usually only the highest bits of road. Be aware of shaded road in the morning IF THERE HAS BEEN A SOLID FROST. Otherwise should be ok.

    In the season, if chains are needed, the RMS guys will generally pull everyone over on the way up to Selwyn at whatever area they think necessary and tell people to fit them.

    If you drive DOWN from Selwyn and there is NO SNOW ON THE ROAD - take the chains OFF. When chains are on, drive slower they are not meant to be driven at 100 kph.

    Always had people driving flat out with chains on when there was no snow way down in Adaminaby.

    Pay attention - no need to panic, just be aware not terrified. :)

    It is in fact a lovely road to drive with stunning views in places. Have a ball. :)
     
    #20 DaveM, Jun 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
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  21. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Part of the Furniture
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    Selwyn is all grass so you only need 20cm to fall and the whole resort is skiable. Fastest resort to be 100% open after a decent snowfall.

    As other have said its all about slow gradual changes of momentum. That is turning, going faster or stopping. Do your slowing down before the bend or before the downhill, before you get to close to the car in front.

    Speed up before uphill sections so you have momentum on the way up.

    Slow down by selecting a low gear rather than stomping on the brake.
     
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  22. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    Is the i30 a diesel version? If so then make sure it is near empty at Cooma then fill up with Alpine diesel. This will stop the fuel waxing which means the car will not run. I would check the type of engine coolant before you leave. Just because it is coloured does not mean it will protect in very cold conditions. Many coolant additives are about preventing corrosion. These roads are cleared after snowfall so chains are not often required unless it is snowing when you are driving. Driving on fresh snow is better than driving on frozen stuff. Ice is the biggest problem so be careful in the morning. Good advice from all above. ABS will help to a point but remember that it actually works by locking the wheels and then unlocking them very quickly. Locked wheels mean no steering control an on ice everything happens at a fraction of the speed you will be used to. The other way to slide is too much steering for your speed. This will be more common for a front wheel drive. Without getting too complicated, the general rule for any skid is to remove (or reduce) the cause of it. If it is brakes then back off slowly. If it is steering then turn the wheel slowly in the direction of the skid. It may not take a great deal to return to vehicle to traction. Most people are about being safe and are patient with inexperienced drivers. It is your family so who really cares about whether you are holding up traffic but be mindful of that and pull over where safe to allow faster vehicles to pass. Avoid pulling over on a steep uphill grade as it may be harder for you to start again.
     
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  23. fenrir

    fenrir Active Member

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    Also goes without saying but observe speed signs on the approach to the carpark. Maybe it's just my timing but the couple of occasions I've been to Selwyn there was a speed trap in operation literally at the carpark entrance. I saw the guy write ticket after ticket whilst unloading the car.
     
  24. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    When you park overnight at the snow , leave your wipers standing up as if you have been cleaning the windscreen.Your wipers can freeze and bond with the glass and then they will be stuffed/stuck.If you don't want to chance it with a frozen handbrake cable then use two bricks to stop the vehicle rolling and leave the hand brake off.
    If you leave the wheel chains off , park it for the night and then it hammers down with snow overnight , putting chains on later when the car is parked and snowed in is much harder.Car batteries don't like the cold. It seems to age /deplete them.Take jumper leads just in case.
     
  25. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here
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    I agree with some of your post Mister Tee, other parts, not so much.
    Leaving wipers standing can make them prone to damage, if you're worried about them freezing to the windscreen, slip a couple of plastic bags on them and remove before you drive off
    If you put bricks under the wheels, make sure you take them with you, don't leave them to damage another car, definitely have your battery checked, and replace if there is any doubt
    Don't forget the anti freeze in the radiator.
     
  26. chicski

    chicski Dedicated Member
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    I've never done any of that. ^^ except anti freeze. Had frozen drink bottles, never a problem with wipers or hand brake.
     
    #26 chicski, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  27. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    I think the OP was intending to stay overnight off mountain so this may not be applicable. I see many people driving around on dry roads with their chains on because they are too lazy to take them off. This is not good for the chains or the road. The chains may be hired but they belong to someone. The road belongs to us all.
     
  28. alexd

    alexd Dedicated Member

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    Not only that, but chains on dry pavement are much more dangerous than tyres only. The grip is massively reduced.
     
  29. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    Very true also. Driving over 40 with them on is not very comfortable though.
     
  30. leigh the noob

    leigh the noob Active Member
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    Two tips from me:
    - Take some sort of plastic sheet (approx 1m x 1m) to lay on the ground in case you do have to fit chains. It is virtually always mud and slush when you need to fit chains, and this can reduce the mess to your clothes somewhat :).
    - Take a garden spade, or similar. If it does snow while you are parked up the mountain, it is much easier to dig it away with a spade than your hands. Takes minimal space in the boot, so no big impact if you don't need it.
     
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  31. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    These are good tips plus rubber kitchen dish washing gloves are excellent for wearing whilst fitting chains.I also carry an old water proof spray jacket as well as a tarpaulin for the saga of fitting chains while face down in the mud and slush.
     
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  32. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Part of the Furniture
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    Have had the handbrake freeze on a few times. Usually in a situation where i'd made a water crossing before stopping for the night, or driving through deep slushy snow before stopping. So heaps of water around the brake that can freeze solid when you stop.

    In the morning you go to move and nothing happens. Give it a bit of revs and all of a sudden massive cracking noise as the ice breaks and you start to move. Wouldn't like to try and overcome it in a petrol.
     
  33. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here
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    The water tends to freeze between the inner and outer cables, which means the brake can't let go no matter how hard you thrash it!
     
  34. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    I strongly recommend leaving your windows wound up overnight.

    I came back to a car full of snow when I'd left a window down by mistake! LOL
     
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  35. snowtyres

    snowtyres Active Member
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    Just to clarify it is correctly a 'parking brake' not a 'hand brake'
    Parking brake is now more likely to be electronic on current vehicles rather than mechanical.
    This is usually how the 'hill start' feature operates that is increasingly found on new vehicles is activated, and released.
    The term 'hand brake' related to vehicles from past times when vehicles had mechanical or 'cable brakes'.
    It is also very hard to 'modulate' an electronic parking brake that some would suggest as a way to retard a vehicle travelling down hill in ice and snowy conditions.
    If you ask Dr. Google it will be explained or check in the owners manual of your vehicle for clarification of the system fitted to your vehicle.
     
  36. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    and just an aside, my son's car has an electronic brake, and of course, when his battery went flat, we couldn't push the ****ing thing out of the way
     
  37. DaveM

    DaveM Active Member

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    Gareth - 2 really good bits of info/tips there :D
     
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  38. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki Dedicated Member
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    When you pick up your snow chains, practice fitting them at the servo, unhurried, on flat ground and in the dry. Don't try to learn up in the chain fitting bay surrounded by people in a hurry and cars going left, right and centre.
     
  39. gareth_oau

    gareth_oau Old And Crusty
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    Take a sheet to kneel on, and some light gloves if your fingers suffer from the cold
     
  40. Snow Blowey

    Snow Blowey Part of the Furniture
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    My experience has always been a loud noise as if there was ice sticking the brake to the brake pad that let go in a hurry.
     
  41. Charlie

    Charlie Still the most depraved poster here
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    Maybe that too!