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Driving Advice

Thomas Mallett2013-01-17 09:53:08

10 great driving destinations in the snow

It's a bit miserable at this time of year. We get in the car for the morning's drive to work and we're immediately faced with an icy windscreen and a steering wheel that would make Father Christmas shiver. So, there are two options, one is to suffer in silence and unload one's frustration on an equally chilly colleague, or you can embrace the big freeze. How can you do this? Here are some options:

Whistler

As per usual I’m more than a little bit biased, and I’m hopeful about this one as I’m heading to Whistler for New Year 2014!

Whistler

The road from Vancouver to Whistler is the one I’m talking about and on the basis that Canada is on the large side of bloomin’ enormous you’ll most likely be flying into Vancouver and picking up a hire car. I have done it once before, but we hired a limo (I’m embarrassed to admit) so this time I’m thinking it might have to be a Ford Mustang?

Wales

Ahh, the road to Ffestiniog. A marvelous thing it is, truly a thing to behold. I was introduced to this road by the hellfire missile route…a winding chase past rocky outcrops, me in a Mercedes CL65, someone else in a Bentley Continental GT Speed and a photographer in an Aston Martin DB9.

Wales

It’s a tight, winding, challenging and possibly murderous pass and due to that it is a whole lot of fun. You get to the end of it with a real smile on your face, not just because you’ve enjoyed it but because you’re still alive and the car’s in one piece.

Arctic Circle

Von Trips and Jenks went to the Arctic Circle in a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, back when SL really meant ‘Sports Lightweight’ and wouldn’t it be great to follow in their footsteps? It might be a bit more comfortable in an SLS today, but those big, wide tyres would be a nightmare on snow!

Arctic Circle

In Jenks’ own words: “I don’t expect that too many other journalists have road-tested a single-seater on public roads. Fewer still would have driven a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing with Wolfgang von Trips straight out of the race circuit and onto a happy weeks motoring around the Arctic Circle.”If I had one I’d take my hat off to you sir.

Alps

You can’t go too far wrong with the French Alps if you’re looking for a decent road to traverse. It is almost futile trying to pick one, but I’ll have a go anyway. A few years ago I went to Le Mans for the 24 Hours and we decided that we’d try and make it really interesting by continuing the holiday…

Alps

…heading to the Alps seemed like an obvious choice before we made our way back to base at Juan Les Pins in the South of France. The pass that I remember though is the Col de la Bonette, and that is probably, at least in part, down to the fact that it is also the highest. At 2807m it is the highest road in Europe, but it is still a great road to drive and not that treacherous either. Ideal for an amateur like me!

Snake Pass

Being from England the idea of going to the Peak District doesn’t sound all that exciting to me. Quite simply, how can anything this good be only 50 miles from my front door?

Snake Pass

The fact it is that close and that I don’t use it more than a handful of times every year is more of an indictment of me than it is of the road. It’s about 25 miles long and connects Sheffield and Glossop, and while the name suggests it’s builders were aware of its winding nature it is in fact called after the Snake Pass Inn which falls on its route and is ideal for some nourishment.

Norway: Bergen to Oslo

I wouldn’t try to persuade you to drive all the way up to Norway if it wasn’t worth it would I? Well, when you get there you won’t only find a magnificent road, but you’ll also find that it stretches out in front of you for a total of 350 miles meaning you won’t get bored any time soon.

Norway: Bergen to Oslo

It’s a great opportunity to find out what a fjord looks like (and not just from grainy pictured from your history class back at school) and you’ll traverse the Hardangervidda, the largest mountain plateau in northern Europe.

New Zealand South Island

This is a rather large area isn’t it? Half of a country. But, nonetheless I think it’s worthwhile because, quite simply, it is the most magnificent scenery in the world - think about Lord of the Rings: that was filmed there. I drove all around New Zealand about 8 years ago and I’d recommend it to anyone. The trick would be to start at Wellington and take the ferry across to Nelson, then you jump onto Route 6 and head across to the coast.

New Zealand South Island

The only danger is that you stop every 5 minutes to take photographs and don’t actually make any progress! The coast is breathtaking and you can even stop to climb Fox Glacier on the way through. Eventually you’ll wind up in Queenstown and there can, quite simply, be no better final party destination to your road trip. You can even do the ‘thrillogy’ (3) bungee jumps when you arrive if you’re feeling mad…I’d recommend it.

Porsche

You might guess that this isn’t exactly a road, but this course gets in the list because what we’re really looking for is fun that you can have in wintery conditions. The course is held on a frozen lake in temperatures down to minus 30 degrees and you’ll be drifting some of the finest machinery around.

Porsche

You start off with the basics, like how to correctly position your seat and how to steer correctly before working out what the correct racing line is and then how to do one of those big, beautiful, lairy drifts that you see on TV. You’ll even get to drive with spiked tyres so you can pretend to be a Finnish rally driver, or nowadays Sebastian Loeb.

Greenland

Isn’t it funny that it is in fact Greenland that’s the icy one, while Iceland is blessed with relatively green and pleasant pastures? Anyway, that makes for some serious driving.

Greenland

Greenland is huge and largely bereft of a decent road network so you’ll have to drive around the coast and then get down to what you actually want to do in Greenland…a different type of driving – driving dogs and a sled!

The other option…

Who said your winter driving destination has to be covered in snow and devilishly cold? Why not head down to Australia and drive along the great ocean road or up from Sydney to Brisbane? It’s the kind of trip that your other half will enjoy too, although you may yearn for a bit of slippery, traction control off, fun…

  • Whistler
  • Whistler
  • Wales
  • Wales
  • Arctic Circle
  • Arctic Circle
  • Alps
  • Alps
  • Snake Pass
  • Snake Pass
  • Norway: Bergen to Oslo
  • Norway: Bergen to Oslo
  • New Zealand South Island
  • New Zealand South Island
  • Porsche
  • Porsche
  • Greenland
  • Greenland
  • The other option…

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