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Old 13th October 2021, 14:54   #1
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Default Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Leg 1: Ambala-Chail; Encounter with a Blizzard!!!!

Since it was raining and snowing most of the times, didn't get a chance to click many pics and videos, so sharing what I have.

It was a cold morning,and it had been a couple of hours since it was raining.

I was driving towards the Gym in my Thar at 9:30 Am; just about I was to enter the gymnasium gate, a sudden thought cropped up in my mind, the weather forecast looks good, and it might snow in the mountains later in the day. That was it; I decided in my mind, let’s go for a snow drive. I called up my close friend as he has a V-cross, if he would like to join for the drive; however he informed that his Isuzu had gone for service, but he can hop in with me, but we need to be back the same day by 8-9 Pm, which was fine with me.

I quickly drove back home, picked up some heavy jackets, snow boots and snow chains and gloves, eatables etc.

Picked up my friend at 10:30 am and we were off towards the mountains in search of some snow, little did we know what lay ahead of us. We called up a mutual friend in Solan who has a Thar and asked him if he would like to join in for the drive. He agreed and we caught up with him at Solan around Noon, and it was still raining.

Next, we had to decide the destination; Narkanda was dropped as it would be a bit too much and we were skeptical about Shimla due to traffic and if it snows there, it will be a mayhem due to 2WD’s on road. So, it was decided, we head to Chail, since the road is secluded and if there is no snowfall there, we can head towards Kufri.

The Two Thars
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-88da27a7eaed48269a87dbbda19ce6ae.jpg

We Left Solan Around 1pm, and started driving towards Chail, about 30 minutes into the journey, the rain turned into tiny snowflakes, and which ensured that it would be snowing higher up.

First Glimpse of Snow
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_8676.jpg



We kept moving at a steady pace, and took right turn from Kandaghat towards Chail, which is about 35kms from there, which may not seem much, but the road is very narrow and in snow it can get a lot tricky. 20 Kms onto the road towards Chail, no snow, 25 kms, still no snow; At this point, we had started to wonder, if we had made the right decision.

Just about as we were about 7-8 kms from Chail, everything changed; it started to snow, we were happy. The Snowfall then turned heavy, and it was time for me to lock the hubs and switch to 4H. Slowly and steadily we kept driving towards Chail. Now the Snowfall had almost turned into a Blizzard. The Snow on the road was getting deeper and deeper, however the two thar’s were trundling along comfortably.

Snowed Out!!!!
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-3bca79d1ef1042359754dd5b2319e171.jpg

By this time the snow on road was already at least 6 inches deep or more. We were about 2-3 kms from Chail, when we came across our first hurdle.

Stuck!!!!
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_2659.jpg


The trick of driving in snow even in a 4WD without chains, is to not lose momentum, if you lose it, there is a fat chance that you will get stuck and if you lose traction, the snow below the Tyres quickly turns into ice making them spin freely without any movement.

For those who have been to Chail, would know that there is a hair pin turn just about two kms from Chail near the green tax barrier, my friend was leading us, and he had to brake suddenly, as an Alto was stuck in snow. That braking made him lose momentum and he got stuck. Luckily, I had managed to bring my vehicle to halt slowly.

Now to move forward, I had to ensure that I do not lose traction, else I would have got stuck as well.

Shifted to 2L and gently released the clutch, and I slowly inched forward and parked my thar ahead after finding a flat patch with less snow.

At this point, we decided it would be wise to use chains since the Snow had started to turn into ice.

Now Installing chains is not that easy; and with freezing temperatures and 8-10 inches of snow on road, even with gloves on, we struggled for 15-20 minutes and gave up. Meanwhile, we were able to move the other Thar out of the icy patch after rocking it back and forth. It was still snowing heavily and there was no chance that it would stop for the next few hours.

We reached a consensus that we will drive up to Chail which was about 2Kms from there, have a cup of tea, call it a day and drive back, since we had already driven in enough snow.

In heavy snow driving for 2 kms can be tedious task and sure it was.

I was leading this time, and barely 700-800 meters from the spot, my thar lost traction and slipped into a tiny ditch towards the mountain. We were 4 people in two Thar's with one stuck in heavy snow fall and not a single vehicle or a soul in sight. 3 of us tried to push the thar out while I was at the wheel, but it didn’t budge. It was stuck at such an angle that; tow strap wasn’t an option. Times like these, you wish, you had a Winch.

Moments Before my Thar Got Stuck
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_8680.jpg

Team Maroon Thar
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_8682.jpg



World is a Small Place!!!!

While we were waiting for someone to drive (Which was highly unlikely) or walk past us, I notice a group of people at a distance walking towards us, it was still snowing heavily, and we were all covered up. As the group inched closer, I walked up to them and asked if they could help in pushing my thar out of snow, and I could feel the reluctance; then Suddenly one of them shouts, Arey Akshay Bhai, is that you, I was like yes, and he was an old friend from Bcmtouring.com who was working in a bank in Chail and was walking towards civilization as banks etc. would be closed for the next few days. Upon exchanging pleasantries with the group, who had of course now agreed to help us push the thar out, we managed to move my thar ourselves in a few minutes and decided to drive back from there.

The Parting Shot
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-4532bad3757f4f2eac9bbd2a68646a8a.jpg


Return Leg: Chail-Ambala, When 4WD owners turned into Wood Cutters!!!!

It was almost 4Pm, when we decided to drive back, little did we know what lay ahead of us. Siddharth had informed us that a few locals had already driven ahead of us towards Kufri in Gypsies/Vcross/Thar’s, and they will be returning soon. We decided to wait for them.

Meanwhile a couple of locals who were walking up towards Chail gave us the dreadful news that the road from Chail to kandaghat was blocked as 18-20 trees had fallen and were blocking the road. This came up as a big blow, since this would mean that we could get stuck easily for 1-2 days. By this time, the locals had arrived in their 4WD’s, and we reached a consensus that we will drive and see what lies ahead of us. Meanwhile Siddharth being the local bank guy had some contacts and arranged an Axe for us. So, we rolled off and a few hundred meters later, we came across our first blockade, it was a small one, and now that we were a group of 15-18 odd people, we managed to push the tree aside. We lost the Axe while trying to cut the second or third tree. Luckily Siddharth, our Saviour had asked for a petrol-powered chain saw. With a full tank full of petrol in the chain saw, and manpower of 18 odd people, we managed to chop 15 odd trees and covered the distance of about 35 odd kms in about 5 hours.

When 4WD owners Turned into Woodcutters
Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_2661.jpg

Here is short Video of the events



Once we reached Kandaghat, we thanked the local guys and our Man of the day Siddharth and drove back home to be in our comfy beds by 12Am.

Thanks for Watching/Reading.

Last edited by akshay4587 : 13th October 2021 at 15:08.
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Old 15th October 2021, 10:11   #2
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Awesome pictures! What tyres are your Thar's running? It looks like the sort of weather where one needs winter tyres, or is that not the case?
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Old 15th October 2021, 10:35   #3
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Not everyone gets to enjoy this kind of day out, as and when they wish! Congratulations on that. The pics will bring back beautiful memories few years down the line

The THAR is made for this kind of usage, winch and jack would make it full fledged go anywhere 4x4.
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Old 15th October 2021, 11:40   #4
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez View Post
Awesome pictures! What tyres are your Thar's running? It looks like the sort of weather where one needs winter tyres, or is that not the case?
It's running Maxxis Bravo 771 AT tyres; Snow tyres would have definitely helped. But they aren't available in India, nor do they make sense for someone like me who drives in snow for a few days in a year.

I use snow chains instead, I was carrying them on this trip however, due to heavy snowfall and very deep snow on road, I was unable to install them.
In fresh snow, good tyres and 4WD work for most of the time.

Here is a picture from our Winter Spiti trip in January 2020, here we had snow chains on for almost a week.
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Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-84557345_2232378790195903_885483967078203392_n.jpg  

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Old 15th October 2021, 13:20   #5
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

What a brilliant write-up! Thank's for the Snow Driving Knowledge, will seriously come in handy when the time comes. Also, one quick question as I am planning a snow drive sometime next year. Based on your experience, What tires are better for Snow MT's, or AT's ??
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Old 15th October 2021, 13:44   #6
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Fantastic! Love the photos and everything about this travelogue. Just what this vehicle was intended to do.
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Old 15th October 2021, 15:14   #7
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

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Originally Posted by ishan0278 View Post
What a brilliant write-up! Thank's for the Snow Driving Knowledge, will seriously come in handy when the time comes. Also, one quick question as I am planning a snow drive sometime next year. Based on your experience, What tires are better for Snow MT's, or AT's ??
Ideally MT's will definitely perform better in snow than AT's.
However, if it's not fresh snow, then they will be as good or as bad as AT's.
My advice will be to invest in a nice pair of snow chains.
If it will be your first time in snow, try to be in a convoy with recovery gear, if you plan to venture out deep.

Last edited by akshay4587 : 15th October 2021 at 15:15.
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Old 15th October 2021, 18:00   #8
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

I am freezing just looking at those pics

Me and snow would be diametrically opposite. So all the more reason for me to salute you snow riders who go looking for snow to drive in.
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Old 16th October 2021, 00:43   #9
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Wonderful man. I have a similar thar to yours (gen 1 maroon) and number matches that of vcross 😋. I know that guy from Instagram.
I am also currently living in Mohali.
Also if I'm not wrong the silver Thar I've seen around Shoolini road. I use that road to beat the highway rush.

Small world eh ?

Here's a twin
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Old 16th October 2021, 01:45   #10
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Great adventure, @akshay4587. We all need these once in a while. Those deep snow ruts reminds me of my drive during a blizzard in Flagstaff, AZ. I never did engage 4H on my rental though;

I'm curious to know:
1. Do they salt the roads India?
2. What is the schedule for snow plows?
3. Do you get good all-season tires in India?
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Old 16th October 2021, 10:23   #11
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Good report. Nice little adventure that!

Thanks for sharing tips on driving in the snow. I firmly believe that it's these kind of difficult situations that teach us more than any hand book can. The weather and conditions in the great mountains are always a mystery. I've driven a good deal in the Himalayas and encountered some crazy situations as well. I'll always recommend having another car for company rather than being out there on one's own.

PS. That red / maroon Thar looks absolutely killer!
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Old 16th October 2021, 22:06   #12
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralto View Post
Wonderful man. I have a similar thar to yours (gen 1 maroon) and number matches that of vcross 😋. I know that guy from Instagram.
I am also currently living in Mohali.
Also if I'm not wrong the silver Thar I've seen around Shoolini road. I use that road to beat the highway rush.

Small world eh ?

Here's a twin
Small World, let's catch up sometime

Quote:
Originally Posted by landcruiser123 View Post
Great adventure, @akshay4587. We all need these once in a while. Those deep snow ruts reminds me of my drive during a blizzard in Flagstaff, AZ. I never did engage 4H on my rental though;

I'm curious to know:
1. Do they salt the roads India?
2. What is the schedule for snow plows?
3. Do you get good all-season tires in India?
1) No they do not salt the roads, they throw Mud on them instead.
2) Snow Cutters are pushed into service after every snowfall, only under extreme snow fall, roads can get shut for a couple of days.
3) No Snow specific tyres are on sale in India for any vehicle, heck we do not even get proper snowchains here. All we get is MT/AT tyres for SUV's.
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Old 16th October 2021, 22:12   #13
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Good report. Nice little adventure that!

Thanks for sharing tips on driving in the snow. I firmly believe that it's these kind of difficult situations that teach us more than any hand book can. The weather and conditions in the great mountains are always a mystery. I've driven a good deal in the Himalayas and encountered some crazy situations as well. I'll always recommend having another car for company rather than being out there on one's own.

PS. That red / maroon Thar looks absolutely killer!
Thank you.
Mountains, definitely throw out a lot of unexpected surprises.
I will pen down, another extreme adventure I went through in 2018.
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Old 22nd October 2021, 19:41   #14
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Wow, all that in a days work? Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and the photos are epic! I wish I get to live in that part of India for few years to explore such lovely landscape.
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Old 23rd October 2021, 09:37   #15
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Default Re: Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar

Awesome! You trully have the advantage of living in plains yet so close to the hills. While we do make our plans impromptu for snow drives too, ours are at least 2-3 days and can not be one day like the one in your post. Always great to see the Thar coping up with all that's thrown at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay4587 View Post
Ideally MT's will definitely perform better in snow than AT's.
However, if it's not fresh snow, then they will be as good or as bad as AT's.
My advice will be to invest in a nice pair of snow chains.
If it will be your first time in snow, try to be in a convoy with recovery gear, if you plan to venture out deep.
Naah, MTs in snow are the worst. I have done many drives with my BigHorn 764s and while they are absolutely fine in fresh snow (which is very much like sand to be honest), in a day old snow or with black ice patches, MTs are scary to drive. I haven't tried the new gen of MTs with better compound (BFG KM3s or Maxxis RAZRs etc) - however for snow I would always recommend good All Terrain rubber with severe snow rating.

However, having said this - nothing beats snow chains. A pair of snow chains can make the car tackle the situation to a great extent. Two pairs will make the car invincible (quite literally) on the icy roads.

Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_20200516_115410_028.jpg

Snow Drive! How a simple excursion turned into an excruciating adventure with my Thar-img_20210129_104152_480.jpg
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