Dec 1, 2008 | Marmot, Winter 2008

Driving from Sea Level to Ski Level… Are you Prepared for Winter Driving?

You may leave home snow free, rest assured there is plenty on the road when driving up to Mount Washington.

Each winter, many Mount Washington Alpine Resort visitors have to call a tow truck. “Many of these calls could be avoided”, says Bill Wright, owner of Georgia Strait Towing and Collision in Courtenay.

“The biggest reason people need to call a tow truck, says Wright, is because they’re not prepared for winter driving. People go from summer conditions to winter conditions in half an hour,” he says.

Drivers don’t think about things like antifreeze, fuel lines freezing up or how their transmission is going to react. And forget about winter tires, many of the vehicles he tows don’t have them, never mind chains.

“Nobody wants to pay the money to buy chains. Some think just because they have a four-wheel-drive they don’t need chains. But four-wheel-drive isn’t going to help going downhill,” he says.

“Four-wheel-drive is the same as two-wheel-drive when you don’t have good tires.”

Mike Renouf, Security Supervisor at Mount Washington, routinely gets calls to help people who’s cars have broken down, gotten stuck, or have locked their keys.

“Losing keys happens a lot,” he says. “They put them in their jacket rather than in a locker, and when they wipe out the keys inevitably disappear.”

“The most common (call) is people not getting their vehicle winterized,” he says. That results in scenarios like low batteries that can’t handle the cold or performance tires that don’t perform well on snow.

The Resort does not allow overnight parking in any of it’s Day Lots. The Lots must be empty for snow clearing purposes. Any vehicles left overnight in the Day Lots have to be towed.

Renouf’s final word of advice to people driving up to enjoy Mount Washington this winter is to make sure to have the correct tires for winter driving.

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