View Full Version : Scary Drive In The Snow

14.03.2006, 07:10 PM
A mate and myself thought we would have a quick blast down to Geneva for the motor show. I was left in charge of the route and having a soft spot for the N5 from Poligny to Gex thought it would be wise to include it in the route. I did a little research and everything seemed to indicate it would be passable. I texted Gizmo a couple of times as we left a cafe in Poligny as I knew it was one of his favoutite roads. However within no time at all it started to seem less and less like a good idea. We set off from Poligny with just a little snow at the side of the road but within a few miles we started to think we might have made a mistake.

Spud Raver
14.03.2006, 07:20 PM
Looks a bit........white!!!!! :eek:

Reminds me off that time when I was travelling up the A9 to Aviemore then on to RAF Kinloss at 1am in the morning. The snow was coming down thick and fast so it was like "Star Trek Warp factor 9" for 5 hours. The only thing I could go on was the edge of the kerb along the road. Eventualy went up a slip road and crashed into one of those blue/white plastic thingys with an arrow on (dont know what they are called). Waited for the snowplough to come past and followed him up the rest of the way. Everyday's a school day!

Real Mccoy
14.03.2006, 07:48 PM
Dude that is so scary :eek: your driving on the wrong side of the road :doh:

14.03.2006, 08:12 PM
That pic was a few miles from the top of the Col. And things got much worse after we got to the top. Dropping down towards Geneva the road seems steeper with more harpins to contend with. We were poorly prepared compared to the locals who had snow chains etc, In fact all we had were a couple of Mars bars, A Top Gear magazine and 1 pair of sunglasses between the 2 of us. It became apparent on starting our descent that it was not going to be straightforward at all as the car (Impreza 4wd) did not seem to be able to find any grip at all. As we tip toed round 1 hairpin we noticed that about 100 metres down the road at the next bend there was a group of people with their cars at all angles across the road and there was a lot of pushing of cars and digging out of wheels going on. We decided to stop where we were until they moved their cars. Seemed like a good idea but the car would not stop! It just started to slowly slide down the hill towards the cars and people at the bottom. My mate who at this point was driving tried everything he could to avoid the group lower down. I recall he seemed to go through every gear in the gearbox, pull the handbrake on and off a few times, press every button in the car in fact everything but open the glove box remove and read the drivers handbook. The car ended up side on sliding down the road at about 5 mph towards the bemused French people at the bottom of the hill. More by luck than anything else we ended up bouncing of a snow bank on the left side of the road which spun us round till we ran head on into a bank on the right side of the road which slowed us enough to stop inches short of the cars that had already had similar things happen to them. Within a few minutes there was enough space for us to squueze through and continue our descent.

Some of the cars we had nearly hit began following us down the hill which really was a case of the blind leading the blind. The same thing happened a couple of bends further down the road where we just carried on straight on sideways on another right hand bend where we were cushioned by a 6ft tall wall of snow and just managed to glance up the road to see a white car advancing slowly but surely towards us. I can still see the passengers face now as the got within 20 ft of us before we managed to get enough traction to get under way. They ended up side on in the same wall of snow we had been in a few seconds earlier. We didnt hang around for long as the other cars were starting their descent and we did not want to get caught up in any more incidents. We had a couple of half spins on the way down without hitting anything else but did have a French man wildly waving 2 french loafs at us as we slid towards him as he crossed the road from his van that was stuck at the roadside. Was quite scary really as the though of being stuck up there and walking down was not good.

Only minor damage to the car as the snow cushioned us quite well. And we eventually got to our hotel in Geneva without further mishap.

This picture shows the road on our descent from the top and does not really show just how bad it was.

14.03.2006, 09:35 PM
Geez that looks like a lot of fun. NOT


14.03.2006, 10:14 PM
Aviemore was like that two weeks ago when we were up boarding - wind was galeforce - total white-out and [email protected]@@ing fffffreezing.

14.03.2006, 11:06 PM
That looks about a million times worse than my drive back down the M74 on Sunday

15.03.2006, 12:26 AM
No doubt youve been up Col Faucille a few times like myself Shaun? Was surprised just how bad it was, talked to a few people over there and they all said they have had more snow than usual this year which has caused a few problems. Took a different route back needless to say. Went round the Lake to Lausanne and up Vallorbe and on to Pontarlier, Vesoul, Luxeil les baines, Neufchateau, up to Verdun and then back on the motorway. Some good roads that I've been on before and called to see a bloke I know just south of St Miehel who runs a small hotel right on the side of the Meuse. There seemed to be a lot of flooding everywhere and by mateys hotel the river was now hundreds of metres across rather than the few feet it usually is.

We were supposed to go to the Nurburgring to meet some mates of my mate who were doing some kind of test day there but it was cancelled due to weather so we did the return in one hit which took from 9.30am to 2 am the following day. Scored some brownie points with the missus for coming home 2 days early though.

15.03.2006, 11:00 AM
Reminds me of a trip we did in 2003. I have a mate who lives in Gex, and thought it would be fun to surprise him by turning up with a bottle of wine one evening, as you do! But it was over August Bank Holiday weekend, we had four days to do the Alps and return....two up on Ninja 600! Anyway all went well, having left home Sat am 0700, till we turned for home, from Grindelwald, Monday afternoon. Hit traffic, almost ran out of gas, no accommodation booked, the weather closing in, 9 in the evening, etc. We were heading for Pontarlier where I knew there was a Formule 1 motel. Oh, yes and only Euros in my pocket. As we progressed toward the hill before Pontarlier it started to rain - but not just rain - you know that alpine stuff where the drops are like golf balls? Not fast or hard yet, but it was coming. We had been 400 miles in the saddle that day and were not happy. A frantic search for the motel had us sail (almost literally) past the turn off to it. Eventually managed a u-turn, two up, laden with luggage, now dark, now starting to rain properly. The next five minutes locating the place seemed like an eternity. Every drop of rain seemed to go right through our kit, the road was inches deep in water in seconds. As we found the motel I drove right up under the canopy outside reception, killed the engine and sighed - the place was still open, just, it was 10 o'clock. The guy on reception gave us one of those looks - a cross between "sad englishman" and "stupid motorcyclist" - and motioned that we leave the bike, dripping wet, beneath canopy for the night. By morning we had dried out, the sun was shining, we left at 6.30 and got back to Squire's for a milk shake at 7pm!

The novelty of mountain weather - innit great?

Sounds like you were lucky, but you'll remember it well!

15.03.2006, 01:10 PM
I like to think of it as character building!