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Old 01-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #5
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I was born in So Cal and have lived nearly all of my life in our irrigated desert boarded by the ocean on one side and (sometimes) snow capped mountains on the other. I don't have the snow driving experience that many of you have.

I happen to take up skiing in my early 20's - about the same time I bought a C3 Vette. Like many in So Cal, I found Mammoth Mountain to be the best ski adventure within driving distance of home (East side of the Sierras less than 50 miles South of Yosemite). I was at a good place in my career at that time (but certainly could NOT afford a second vehicle just for snow) and was able to log a lot of days skiing.

At that time they had some "chains" that were really thick strips of treaded plastic held together with seatbelt-like nylon straps that could be cinched tight to the tire. I used those several times and they worked great without ever damaging anything on the vette. I suspect they didn't age well but I only took the vette skiing for a few years.

However, one day in the spring I took a different route from the lodge back to the condo, that had some hills. I got to a small hill and had to stop at the bottom for pedestrians. No matter how gently I feathered the clutch, the rear tires just spun. That's when I realized I had left the plastic chains at home. In an act of desperation, I let a LOT (I think I went down to about 18psi - definitely below 20) of air out of the rear tires. I was very pleasantly surprised to find I suddenly had enough traction to get out of that low point, up and over the hill - then headed straight for the closest gas station for air.

As I recall I was running BFG L50-15s out back at the time. Even in the dry, they taught me about understeer.

I certainly am NOT recommending you drive around all winter with tire pressure in the high teens. But in a pinch, this tactic can get you out of a tight spot. However, it might not work as well with run flats (???).

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