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Discussion in 'Canada' started by sly_karma, Dec 21, 2011.
Don't need vis in deep pow
Thanks Sly_karma, Astro for your tips. Will try to convince him to drive thru Vancouver instead of Lillooet. I will defo be armed with cameras.
Chunky, was it that bad that they had to close the roads and no skiing for 2 days? They would have to announce this early in the morning too?
We were one of the last to get through Rogers Pass the night before. The BC Road advisory updated throughout the day and night a couple of times and they had a ranger or whatever you call them out on the highway letting you know what was happening. On the 2nd day they allowed people to head west on Hwy 1 but heading east was still closed. Lucky we were heading to Kelowna. And they only opened the west route very late in the day.
We risked the drive. The ranger office in Lake Louise were saying the short range forecast had heavy snows for a couple of days. The detour on that side of the Rockies around to Kelowna would have been very long and down to the south if Rogers Pass shut so we decided to take our chances.
Revelstoke the ski area was still open while we were there but not everything was open. It didn't seem like nice weather to be out.
Hwy 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet is a serious road in winter. Although some improvements have been happening of late, it's essentially a logging road that has been paved, was never engineered as a highway. The scenery is off-the-chart spectacular, but wait until more experience is gained.
Did the drive from Revelstoke to Nakusp( hwy23) then Lumby(hwy6) a few years ago after talking to a hotel cleaner. I think she is still laughing at our expense. Two ferry crossing and the drive took all day. Made it to Lumby for dinner and many beers. Great scenery but a hell drive on hwy6 in the dark!
The Duffey Lk road (Lillooet-Pemberton) is another step more serious again from the Nakusp/Monashee Pass route. Although driving it in the dark definitely ups the difficulty factor.
Not a numbered highway, but a real eye opener is the back road from Apex down to Hedley, some 1100m below in the rugged Similkameen Valley. This was built to service gold mines in the area, the last of which closed down in the mid 1990s. It's gravel and climbs like a billy goat, but locals use it as a quick access to Apex from the west. We have quite a few season pass holders from the Vancouver metro area who own cabins and condos at the resort and come up most weekends; they use this road whenever possible as it cuts 30-40 minutes off the trip. This is a case where 4WD and good winter rubber is a plus! I have driven this in winter in a FWD but I knew conditions were optimal. Some photos below from Google maps, they give some idea of the view when you can first see into the valley proper. Higher up there are sections where this is truly a single vehicle wide, not a lot of fun when you meet someone coming the other way.
Doesn't that look like the Queenstown side of the Crown Range Road ? Beautiful scenery indeed.
Another addition to the must do list.
It was a good drive until the bit from upper arrow lake. Snow covered, dark and no end in sight. You would have to time the ferry crossings to make it in daylight. We did ask for the scenic route and that is what we got!
If the #1 is closed west of Revy for avalanche control, it's usually quicker to wait rather than go through Nakusp. Nice place to go if you have the time though, hot springs are a hoot. And some seriously big rainbow trout in Arrow Lake. I've seen shots of 30 pound beasts taken around Nakusp.
Yeah that's what we did though we did venture south to the hot springs for a nice afternoon out. We had the Darth Vader voice on our Tom Tom and we had been hearing the same thing over and over and over but went we got to the ferry he changed and said something like when we board the ferry I want all the passengers - bring them to me alive.
OK i've stickied it - happy to move it to the main Travel forum considering it has so much info - would the Canada stalwarts be upset with that?
I'm pretty sure I can move a thread and leave a pointer at the old location.
Ok I actually found a clip of the drive across Rogers Pass the night I was talking about. The video doesn't do justice to the difficulties I faced. It was one of the hardest drives I have done over there. Hopefully you will get some idea. They closed the highway later that night.
Chunky's vid shows why you try to avoid driving at night on the passes: you have NFI where the centreline and shoulders are. It tires you out quickly, and a long pass like Golden to Revelstoke (normally 1.5 hrs) will become a death march. I've also driven the Rogers a few times in conditions like the vid above, even in daytime the wall of white is tough on the eyes. Of course we were rewarded for risking the midnight run into Golden: big powder day at KH the next morning.
I ran up and down to SP a dozen times while we were there. I remember coming home on the 19th December and it was snowing hard at the time. We had to pick up my niece and the flight was delayed due to the snow and conditions.
The drive up the mountain was really hard and very mentally exhausting. There is no centre line, no side of the road. Imagine you are driving in torrential rain at night. Only thing guiding you is the centre line and the kerb line. Most know how tiring that is.
Now do the same thing, but make everything white, no centre line or kerb line - everything is guess work. Then you have oncoming traffic and with the snow falling and everything white - it makes it really hard
I got home to SP and collapsed on the lounge mentally exhausted - and that was only 1 hour. I was driving an AWD car with winter tyres. Had a few trips like that back from Kamloops. Do not under estimate driving in the snow
OK this sounds so obvious and you only ever do it once and you learn quickly.
When you are on those dual carriage way roads and those snow plows are in the outside lane, throwing snow onto the inside lane - dont over take them on the inside lane.
I did it once quickly - never ever again.
Its like driving through a spray of gravel.
I see austin has done it as well. Austin could have told you but was probably too embarrassed.
No just thought it was common sense not to over take something that is chucking stuff into the lane you have to go in to get past.
Really didnt look that bad.
You drive past ploughs every day over there. You get used to them being around and chucking stuff everywhere. Im pleased to just warn others.
If you knew why didnt you say something? And so you didnt do it?
Wow you must be extremely risk adverse. Im surprised youve taken up skiing.
OK Don't drive along beach roads when there is a gale force on shore wind if you want you cars paint to stay on your car.
So it wasn't just me who got out of bed out of sorts this morning? I feel better now.
I had "one of those drives" on the way back to Vancouver from Sly's place last year.
what would normally take 3 1/2 in summer,... 4 1/2 on a good day in winter,..... ended up taking 7+ hrs.
Crawling along through the passes at circa 30 klm/hr in near full white out with driving snow & temps pushing into the minus 20's.
By the time I got home I was utterly knackered & my eyes actually ached from concentrating so hard.
I was stuffed pulling into Revelstoke. +1 was spending as much time as myself scouting the road ahead watching for obstacles and making sure I stayed on the road. The trucks at times helped lead the way but other times the snow was falling sooo much they sort of just appeared in front of you. Many of you won't really know what I am talking about until you actually do it.
Then there was the traffic coming the other way...
A co-pilot is definitely a needed resource when the roads are snow covered and it's dark outside. At times you are pretty much making joint decisions on where the road might be. Rogers Pass is a particularly tricky one, and not just because of the mad quantities of snow it receives. The road passes through two national parks, and in Canada the feds insist on doing their own maintenance inside park boundaries. That makes for differing standards of snow removal and sand application (plus road signs in French and English of course). They have rumble strips on the shoulders of the road, whereas the provincially maintained roads have them on the centreline (but only where deemed necessary).
The rumble strips are a good feature. I struck plenty of fresh snow when travelling thru the Fraser Valley and with limited traffic on the road and no tracks to follow, the rumble strips certainly helped to maintain position on the hwy.
I wish they'd put them on all roads. Reflectors on posts or road surface just don't work, and you sure need something.
Arrived in Whistler last Sunday at about 6ish. Driving is not so bad because we spent most of the time laughing at things and being clueless. Have to get used to call the Canadian left or the Canadian right all the time.
There is not much signing here at all, not like in oz. we keep have to second guessing things because we didn't pay attention enough.
well, I havent really had the time, nor need to read this thread so far. but that's now all changed.
Many thanks Sly, great thread, and thanks also to all those who have contributed.
Thanks Gareth, now I'm working on a future thread on driving in Mexico. Here's a preview: Rule #1: just don't do it. Rule #2: one way streets are advisory only. Rule #3: traffic lights: see rule #2.
Actually that about covers it!
Great thread; what Gareth said...
I'm thinking of driving LA to Jackson over 2 days, then a week or so later Jackson to Whistler over 2 days, Jan 2014. Is this overly ambitious? Is it doable? With the missus and three kids... Big SUV, but appears like it will have no snow tyres...
Google Maps shows Jackson to Whistler is 1700kms, via Vancouver.
2 days seems like a big ask, especially if there's a small chance there might be a bit of snow on the road
A nine hour day followed by an eight hour day. Sounds okay when you break it down. Be interesting to find out the highest point on the route...
3 kids and 17+ hours on the road - they must love you!!
it'll be way more than 17 hours of course, you won't be averaging 100kph
I have done Steamboat to Whistler via Jackson n Banff n Vancouver.
IMHO .. two days is of course possible but its such an amazing drive 4 days to take in some sights would make it a trip worth doing.
Depending how you go you will cross the Continental Divide multiple times. It ain't no Nullabour out there in the frozen American West.
Calgary to Revelstoke is a very full winter day indeed. Revelstoke to Whistler is another big effort.
Jackson to Butte would be similar, then up 90 to Seattle ain't no picnic, then to Vancouver and up to Whistler.
You would be .... Under the pump to family mutiny.
Don't forget night comes early and holdups will occur
Chamonix to Zell am See is 770kms on pretty fast autobahns and that took 8.5hrs with minimal hold ups.
Actually Wardy, I've changed my earlier position.
Watching the following Vid, it looks like its a very quick drive, though the speeds they do in Canada actually look a bit scary!!
I'm 50/50 on this... Car is a chore and wastes skiing days (we've only got 3 weeks; if we had 6, no brainer) but it appears cheaper than flying everyone around. Although with hotels and fuel... I might have another look at it.
I did Vancouver to Jackson in 2 days. Wife 2 kids. Ford Edge FWD with chains.
Averaging over 100km/h on Nth American winter roads, just ain't going to happen unless weather is perfect.
With food and fuel stops. It will be 2 X 10 hour days. I stopped in Spokane. Cheap hotels.
That Jackson drive in snow is hard going. No quick way and can be apart from the last bit coming down towards the coast be all on snow covered roads.
Wardy, getting the picture? Long distances, short daylight hours, uncertain road conditions, and kids. Not a great recipe for a hardcore road trip. I have no doubt that it can be done and surely has been done, but you know the old saying: just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Unfamiliar vehicle, unfamiliar roads, probably limited snow driving experience, no snow tyres. Then add all that onto a very heavy schedule that removes the ability to just pull over if conditions get bad. I mean this kindly and respectfully: this plan represents a genuine safety risk to your family and other road users. Strongly recommend you add an extra driving day or two to the schedule, or fly.
I think I have the solution. Fly in and out of Salt Lake City, hire and drive from there, may even get snow tyres in SLC in Jan. Try and use my Velocity points to fly Delta if I can - definitely should be able to use them on the inbound.
From my experience. Once you are at LAX, turn left or right as you exit Tom Bradley and go to a domestic terminal and just keep flying. We tend to plan our trips with the first leg(s) of travel taking us as far away from home as we are going to get. Then whenever you move location, you are always getting closer to home. Better for the soul too!
Why pick places so far apart?
SLC, Jackson and Big Sky are all a short days drive apart with more than enough ski variety to keep a whole bus happy.
Too many must do destinations on my list to let pass an opportunity to ski one of them (Jackson). Canadian friends want to meet in Whistler while we're there.
If Whistler and JH are mandatory, stop for a day or two in Big Sky, or Whitefish, or one of those terrible Alberta or BC resorts those Canuckians rave about.
Break the trip up or fly.
Car hire in SLC will be with the right tyres for the local conditions and the car hire is significantly cheaper from the right company than from LA, SF or Vancouver.
I use arguscarhire.com to rent cars these days. They seem to be about the cheapest and you end up with a car from one of the major rental companies.