I was recently fortunate enough to visits Méribel in the French Alps and score what may end up being the best skiing of the season – knee deep powder, sunshine and minimal skiers on the hill – which ain’t bad when you consider that said season has hardly started.

And it also ain’t bad to come across a rental car that was up to the job of not just getting me to and from Geneva airport but also to and from the slopes since the roads were covered in snow. I picked up a Skoda Octavia estate through Carrentals.co.uk complete with snow tyres, snow chains and best of all heated seats, all at a very reasonable price and all of which you’d consider normal for winter driving in the mountains, especially the tyres and chains.

It’s actually a nice change to be able to book all these extras so easily – in the past, winter trips have been a right pain in the neck trying to obtain all the necessary extras for safe driving in snowy conditions.

For example, last winter I rented a SUV from Denver Airport for a journey across the Rockies to various high level ski resorts. Being a SUV I assumed 4WD would come as standard along with snow tyres and chains.

But on asking about this at the rental desk I was informed that snow tyres and chains are not supplied on any vehicles and that my SUV wasn’t even 4WD (but it looked rugged which I’m sure would fool any blizzard).

The upshot was that I had to fork out another $180 for a 4WD SUV, a big macho vehicle that actually walked the walked as well as talking the talk, since my original choice appeared to be the Mitt Romney of winter vehicles i.e. full of hot air and useless in an emergency situation.

So it was great to drive around the Alps a couple of weeks ago in a car that macho men like Mr. Romney would laugh at despite the fact that my Skoda would leave his monster truck for dead when the next blizzard hit.

And if you think about it, Skodas are built in Slovakia where they know a thing or two about winter weather – unlike the good folks of Colorado it seems…



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