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Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Petaling Jaya...
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Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Hi, we just came back from a wonderful trip to Vancouver island including mount washington and Whistler in March and are in a very initial stage of planning a winter trip to Ontario and Quebec but it seems the driving condition during winter will be very risky there. So we are tempted to abandon the plan and perhaps go instead for another trip to BC. Will it be equally dangerous to drive to whistler or sun peak during winter? We also hope to cover sunshine coast, pacific marine drive. We have three weeks from mid dec to first week of January.

Thank you so much

Jasper, Canada
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1. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

This TA article on Winter Driving in Canada may be helpful:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

So glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip and that Mt. Washington did work out for you.

Its very difficult to predict. Our winters are not as fierce as back east, so its quite possible that you will have mostly wet roads with a minimum of ice and snow. However, we can get some nasty snowstorms here too, and when we do, things really do shut down. If you are prepared to respond to conditions - drive when conditions are good and stay put when they are not - then you can have a safe winter trip in BC.

Hinton, Canada
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3. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

driving sensably and with the right equipment on the car is what you need to drive anywhere,"REAL" winter tires like the General Tire Blizzack tires I use on all my vehicles are what you need,I live in the mountains and I drive 500km every weekday on my route and have no problem in my drive(over 5300 ft altitude)

Summer tires are for summer(rain and dry)

"ALL SEASON" are a poor choise "ANY" time,they get gard at -7 and are poor in rain and wear off way too fast

I get 120,000 km on my Blizzacks on my work trucks as I drive in snow "all the months of the year I leave them on and change them every year in the fall as I put on 100,000 to 120,000 km a year.

drive fore the conditions and you will be safe,remember the speed limit sign does not mean you have to drive that fast and abrubt manouevers get you in trouble ,slow and steady gets you there

I use slicks on my rear engine dragster for best traction at the race track

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Hi anaest ~

Can't stay away, eh? :-)))

Your plans for Vancouver Island will be fine, no snow, not enough to worry about anyway.

Rental car companies use all season radials, they do not provide snow tires.

People drive to Whistler with all season radials all year. The problems may arise if the police stop you or if there's a heavy snow fall. If something happens and you are found to be without winter snow tires (the ones with the mountain and the snow flake on the sidewall) then you will found to be breaking the law here. The signs on the highway at the north edge of Squamish say "snow tires or carry chains." That is the law here. As far as Sun Peaks, you could get real winter weather on the Coquihalla summit (between Hope and Kamloops) as it is quite elevated, as well as the road approaching Sun Peaks.

You would need to build in some flexibility to your itinerary. This means possibly staying somewhere for an extra night until the weather clears enough to travel the highways, or possibly not. A problem equally as dangerous as snow is ice, especially black ice. You cannot see black ice, it can just be on the road when the road looks perfectly normal.

Petaling Jaya...
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5. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Thank you very much. Yes, can't get away, BC is wonderful and the expert from Bc thread are so helpful. So yes one more trip this Christmas.

Will driving to Big White any easier then to Sun Peak?

We are renting car so I guess we will only get the all season one and not snow tyre. We bought chains for our trip to Lake Tahoe three years ago, can we carry the chain instead? Or can we pay more and ask for the blizzack tyre from rental company?

Petaling Jaya...
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6. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Yes talking about all things shut down during a storm......we were at union bay in march when there was a storm, though not really snowing in union bay. No power, no ferry services, no shops, phone did not work! Mount Washington closed too! When the power came back we drove out and had a flat tire and had to drive around to buy a new tire, I think they sold us a snow tire coz it was expensive! While changing the tire hubby must have dropped his iPhone. And it was lost, so all very eventful.

Yes we will built in some flexibility though I guess all lodging have to be pre booked and paid due to festive season?

Hinton, Canada
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7. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

black ice usually has a shine in the headlites at night,more decieving in daylite,but use slow and deliberate manouvers and drive slower in winter,there used to be a 90 kph speed limit in BC

Blind Bay, BC
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8. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Old post from 2012

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Even more importantly, anaest's OP says mid December to first week in January.

Anaest ~ how did you all enjoy yourselves? How did you find driving in Ontario and Québec in winter?

Petaling Jaya...
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10. Re: Winter in BC - dangerous to drive

Hi, mufti, we had a great time.

This is an old thread. We went to BC twice last year, this one was in March, and the more recent one for Christmas new year period in dec 2012. The driving to Washington ski resort in March was moderately difficult and the next day it was closed due to storm. But the drive to Whistler in March was perfect, great scenery along the sea to sky highway. In December, the drive to BigWhite was very very scary. I think i wrote a comment on one of the other post. We built in some flexibility and drove very cautiously. There aren't many traffic, probably only stupid tourist like took the risk.

The trip to sunshine coast was a great disappointment, especially after the mistake with reservation at the tuwanek Hotel. I wrote a review not to accuse them, knowing that it was at least partially our mistake but to caution future

tourist to be very careful with the online booking especially those not so Internet savvy.

We did not drive in Ontario and Montreal. Thankful for all the advice, the weather was severe. Must say we did not enjoy Ontario much but it serve it's purpose - checking out universities for my daughter- I wish she had applied to UBC though! BC much much nicer to visit during winter, at least, and Big White was great for family.