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Old 14th February 2016, 11:11   #1
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Default Shimla - Driving in Snow!

On the 13th of february I was at my hometown in shimla and it started snowing heavily. The best way to enjoy the snow is to take your car to the open road right. So I called a friend and the two of us drove towards Narkanda. We were driving a hatchback and owing to the large amount of snow in some places, there was a lot of drifting, slipping and sliding. This a a short blog of my 4 hour drive. Here is a short video I made. Apologies for the poor quality photographs, all recordings/pictures were taken with a phone camera.



We started from hotel Marina in the afternoon.


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Stopped for a quick coffee at Buddies cafe near sanjauli

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Traffic was sparse

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Lots of snow near Kufri

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Almost all cars got stuck in this tricky section.

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The fog made it tricky in a few areas.

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I got stuck two times in snow and had to seek the assistance of passersby to get the car moving again. We had a really close shave when an Omni drifted straight towards us I had to get off the road to save ourselves and ended up royally stuck. With a hatchback if you brake on you will get stuck or start sliding for sure.
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Old 14th February 2016, 13:40   #2
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Thats one of a ride for sure. Driving on snow is the real test of patience and you have handled the vehicle very well. Thanks for the nice photographs as well.
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Old 14th February 2016, 13:57   #3
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Wow!!! Superb drive for sure. Not everyone gets these kind of chances. Lucky you to be a native of Shimla. Awesome pics too!
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Old 14th February 2016, 15:23   #4
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

This must have been one of your super cool drive and an advantage of hometown being shimla. Nice photos. Good that nothing major happened with Omni drifting towards you.
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Old 14th February 2016, 21:20   #5
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

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Originally Posted by ssambyal1980 View Post
Thats one of a ride for sure. Driving on snow is the real test of patience and you have handled the vehicle very well. Thanks for the nice photographs as well.
Thanks for the kind words ssambyal1980. I have been following both your excellent recent travelogues and I am thinking of doing the sach pass route this year.

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Originally Posted by arun_josie View Post
Wow!!! Superb drive for sure. Not everyone gets these kind of chances. Lucky you to be a native of Shimla. Awesome pics too!
Thanks arun_josie, the last few days have provided the first proper snow cover of the season and I didn't want to miss this chance.

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Originally Posted by gm_arun View Post
This must have been one of your super cool drive and an advantage of hometown being shimla. Nice photos. Good that nothing major happened with Omni drifting towards you.
That was a scary moment, thankfully we made it through unscathed.
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Old 14th February 2016, 23:38   #6
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Like some say, some things never lose their charm.

Thanks a lot for showing us Shimla minus mad rush.
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Old 15th February 2016, 09:25   #7
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Originally Posted by bullrun87 View Post
Thanks for the kind words ssambyal1980. I have been following both your excellent recent travelogues and I am thinking of doing the sach pass route this year.
Thanks mate!!! Good to know about your plans to drive over Sach Pass. Would be pleased to know your experience. Keep posting. GODSPEED
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Old 15th February 2016, 11:47   #8
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Default re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Those are some fantastic pictures bullrun87!

I must say, even after around 9 years of being a lurker/member, Team-BHP never ceases to amaze me - you think about a topic, and there is a high probability of finding the required information here.

I just opened the travelogues section to get some information regarding Narkanda and Hatu, and your thread was right amongst the top ones!

My question for you and all other members who have undertaken such trips:
We (a group of 10 guys) are planning a trip to Narkanda alongwith a trek to Hatu this coming weekend i.e. 20th & 21st Feb '16 and your pictures have only increased the excitement even more.

Any special things that we should take care of? Though ours is a group of experienced drivers, but not many have experience with snow. I understand, patience is going to be our beshtesht friend while driving over snow. What things need to taken care of?
Also, for the trek to Hatu, what kind of equipment do we need to carry?
Are gumboots/snowboots absolutely neccessary or will semi-rugged shoes like those from Woodland/Quechua suffice?

Any pointers from my dear friends would be highly appreciated!

Regards,
Jaspreet Singh
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Old 15th February 2016, 18:04   #9
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Default Re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

There have only been two or three days of proper snow this season and the weather has been quite pleasant the past two days, so it's unlikely that you will find snow on the road on the 20th and 21st unless it snows again. In case you do find snow, slow progress with constant acceleration is the way to go avoiding braking as much as possible. You can even try reducing tyre pressure . In case you get stuck somewhere you can use dirt/soil from alongside the road to aid in your recovery.. Pushing the car helps too
For your hatu trip, you will find snow up near the top. I'm assuming it'll be a day trip for you guys and you intend to come back the same day. Take lunch and water with you. Gumboots have definite advantage that they are waterproof and there is nothing worse than walking in snow with your feet wet. But there is a compromise with gum boots that they don't effectively shield against the cold. Semi rugged woodlands ought to be fine as long as they are slightly water resistant.
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Old 16th February 2016, 08:22   #10
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Default Re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bullrun87 View Post
There have only been two or three days of proper snow this season and the weather has been quite pleasant the past two days, so it's unlikely that you will find snow on the road on the 20th and 21st unless it snows again. In case you do find snow, slow progress with constant acceleration is the way to go avoiding braking as much as possible. You can even try reducing tyre pressure . In case you get stuck somewhere you can use dirt/soil from alongside the road to aid in your recovery.. Pushing the car helps too
For your hatu trip, you will find snow up near the top. I'm assuming it'll be a day trip for you guys and you intend to come back the same day. Take lunch and water with you. Gumboots have definite advantage that they are waterproof and there is nothing worse than walking in snow with your feet wet. But there is a compromise with gum boots that they don't effectively shield against the cold. Semi rugged woodlands ought to be fine as long as they are slightly water resistant.
Thanks for your valuable inputs bullrun87 !

Yes, ours is going to be a day trek to Hatu peak, with overnight stay at Narkanda. The recent pics provided by the Hotel guy in Narkanda (where we'll be staying) are tempting to say the least. Hoping we will get to see some good snow at the peak.
Regarding the shoes, even I'm not much a fan of wearing gumboots, that too for a long duration; will try to arrange the Woodland-ish shoes!

Thanks once again!

Regards,
Jaspreet Singh
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Old 16th February 2016, 09:42   #11
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Default Re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Nice pics. The roads look so similar to the ones I go to (drive in snow) here in US.. In snow, power isn't everything. Even with a 3.5L V6 I have got stuck in all my attempts to reach a particular peak, and had to turn back since I had a FWD sedan and only 4WDs could go further.

But driving in snow is fun nevertheless. It's simply beautiful.

-Bhargav
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Old 20th February 2016, 08:53   #12
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Default Re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

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Originally Posted by Octane_Power View Post
Nice pics. The roads look so similar to the ones I go to (drive in snow) here in US.. In snow, power isn't everything. Even with a 3.5L V6 I have got stuck in all my attempts to reach a particular peak, and had to turn back since I had a FWD sedan and only 4WDs could go further.

But driving in snow is fun nevertheless. It's simply beautiful.

-Bhargav
There is no use of having power if you can't put it on the the road . Driving in snow is always fun but a 4WD should be preferred. Snow tyres aren't available in India as far as I know. Even if they are, they won't be practical as it snows only for a few days on most himalayan areas.
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Old 24th February 2016, 15:13   #13
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Default Re: Shimla - Driving in Snow!

Hi All,

What a lovely place to take your car to! I always think how to handle cars without ABS on such places? Can anyone help me out here? I have always stayed in places where there was no snow and don't have any experience of driving in snow. How to prevent your car from sliding in snow while you brake? I can understand that you have to maintain steady speed to get proper traction but any other tips would also be welcome.

Thanks in anticipation.
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Old 25th February 2016, 06:56   #14
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Hi All,

What a lovely place to take your car to! I always think how to handle cars without ABS on such places? Can anyone help me out here? I have always stayed in places where there was no snow and don't have any experience of driving in snow. How to prevent your car from sliding in snow while you brake? I can understand that you have to maintain steady speed to get proper traction but any other tips would also be welcome.

Thanks in anticipation.
Hey YoungSaint,
Although ABS will assist you in most snowy conditions, nothing really helps in slippery black/ clear ice. ABS can only help you if there is atleast some level of grip from the tyres.
It is best to avoid braking as much as possible and use constant throttle input to prevent sliding. Engine braking helps to slow the car down in a much slower and safer way than using the foot brake. I usually shift to a lower gear to slow down or ease off the throttle when in first gear. I also prefer running the car as much as possible on fresh snow instead of clear ice even if it means driving slightly on the side of the road.
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Old 25th February 2016, 11:55   #15
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Hey YoungSaint,
Although ABS will assist you in most snowy conditions, nothing really helps in slippery black/ clear ice. ABS can only help you if there is atleast some level of grip from the tyres.
It is best to avoid braking as much as possible and use constant throttle input to prevent sliding. Engine braking helps to slow the car down in a much slower and safer way than using the foot brake. I usually shift to a lower gear to slow down or ease off the throttle when in first gear. I also prefer running the car as much as possible on fresh snow instead of clear ice even if it means driving slightly on the side of the road.
Thanks for the write up. Next time I am in snow I would try and do that. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.
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