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McBlog: Keeping Your Cool in the Snow

Our intrepid columnist offers some winter driving tips - and recollections of icy roads past.

by on Jan.18, 2011

Winter driving can be fun - if you develop some basic skills, explains Denise McCluggage.

Thirteen Vermont winters and a class win in the Monte Carlo rally might lend me cred as a driver in snow. However, probably even more useful, and certainly more concentrated, are a number of sessions I had over the years at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs CO.

Learning to drive in conditions of limited traction is the most valuable experience for acquiring car control on any surface. Go take a day’s basic lesson on snow. Or if you’re already hot on the cold stuff stretch your skills with the session suitable for winter rally wannabes. Then treat yourself to a day on the welcoming slopes of Steamboat and make it a winter holiday for the books. Or Facebook.

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But what I’m writing at the moment are random notes on driving in snow, my experiences of it and my suggestions for those struggling with it this winter. Judging from what’s on my TV unfamiliarity is breeding undue contempt.  (Why is a video of someone’s van waltzing inexorably down an incline into a waiting tangle of ovine cars so mesmerizing?)

When I was the ski editor for the now long-gone New York Herald Tribune I spent all winter attending all the ski areas of upstate New York and New England.  Sometimes a trip to Colorado and Utah. I suppose someone had to do it. I wrote five columns a week and covered college ski races on the weekends. (I’m glad I was the one who had to do it.)