Back on the chain gang

Good. Now try it with the wheel on the car.

Thank you for buying Acme Comedyvalue EasyFit™ (Not) snowchains. Please read the following safety and fitting instructions carefully before throwing them to the ground and jumping up and down on them in a rage. Note that all instructions are written on flimsy pieces of paper which will disintegrate on exposure to minimal atmospheric moisture, rather than printed on something sensible like a waterproof label stuck to the box. Thick gloves, waterproof trousers, torch, Elastoplast and frostbite treatment are not included with this item. These accessories may be purchased from our online shop at http://www.wilecoyote-sales.com.

With Acme’s exclusive EasyFit™ system, your chains will slip straight onto the wheels without fuss. No need to waste time practising in advance – with EasyFit™ you’ll be on your way while everyone else is still grovelling in the slush, removing chunks of frozen flesh from their fingers, cursing the smug tosser who told them self-drive was a better deal than tour op trips and calling divorce lawyers. No we’re not taking the piss, honestly.

1. On arrival at the bottom of the resort access road, drive straight past the blue sign with the picture of a snowchain on it and the handy adjacent car park. Carry straight on until your wheels begin to spin and you slide sideways before slithering to a halt in the middle of the road. (This should happen about two bends up.)

It's OK, you can ignore that.

2. Make no attempt to remove your car from the middle of the road, put out your warning triangle or wear your fluorescent vest. The headlights of oncoming vehicles will make it easier to read the instructions provided.

3. Remove the chains from the box and drop them in the snow. Pick them up and remove mud/slush mixture from the cable connectors. Realise that your efforts are merely compacting the snow further into the connector.

4. Scrabble around behind the wheel arches in the dark. Get mud all over that white Bench ski jacket the chap in the shop told you was so cutting edge trendy this season. Fail to connect the cables because the clips are full of snow.

5. Attempt to pull the chains across the tyres. Accuse wife of buying the wrong size. Fail to stretch the rubber tensioning thing across the wheel, and remove skin from knuckles when it pings out of your wet frozen hands.

6. Realise that your car is rear wheel drive. Remove chains and start again on the back wheels.

7. Burst into tears and look pathetic (women only – men may have to resort to claiming that the wife bought the wrong chains). Drivers stuck behind your car will now come and push it to the side of the road.

8. Hitch lift to resort, probably in a ten-year-old Twingo with no snowchains. Wonder how this works.

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About misplacedperson

Camping and snowboarding for a living. It may not be a career, but it's certainly a life.
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14 Responses to Back on the chain gang

  1. Colin says:

    Ha, very timely, I’ve just copied this to a friend who has asked for advice on chains for her first driving trip to the alps next February.

  2. Ha ha..what’s with the flimsy instructions..they are always flimsy and always indecipherable!!

  3. Sarah Hague says:

    1b Halfway up mountain realise you left brand new chains in box hanging onto hook under supermarket trolley handle. Unload boot to dig out scabby old ones.

    My fault, natch.

  4. I think I qualify for a number of those things (but I didn’t really bother trying to put on the chains…just stood on the side of the road and decided that I’d take advantage of a sexist society). I nice British guy on his way out of Meribel did the first chain, explaining how. A chocolate bribe worked for the second chain. Snow tyres much easier.

  5. Pingback: Choosing a chariot | It's All Downhill From Here

  6. Evan S says:

    Actually rented chains for a trip to Chamonix in ’98, from the same place I got ski box/racks for my car. Drove it to the shop, had the chap look at it, made sure he got the right kit, etc.

    Halfway up to Les Houches with the snow coming down and the slush coming up, found the moron had, indeed, packed the wrong chains in the right bag. Car was left in a snow drift for the best part of two weeks. On return, moron offered a £5 (!) discount on future hire. a) That isn’t going to happen in this lifetime and b) you will refund every penny I spent with you, including for the box and racks, or you will need these skis to be surgically removed from your colon, mate.

    He saw sense.

  7. ivan says:

    I love it – your description that is.

    I see it every year up here in the Pyrenees and wonder why some people don’t learn. Pulled the same people and their car out of the road for the last two years – wonder if I’ll have to do it this year. Me and the chains came to an understanding several years ago now but I do wonder if it will be the same when I get the next lot for the old 4×4 pick-up.

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