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Calgary questions

Calgary questions

Old May 15th 2019, 6:01 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post


4WD isn't really necessary, it's perfectly possible to drive through winters without it. Decent winter tires are all you need. I lived/worked in a ski resort and coped fine with a rear drive car.
I completely agree with this and I live rurally. 4WD is not required in the city of Calgary.
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Old May 15th 2019, 6:08 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by R I C H View Post


4WD isn't really necessary, it's perfectly possible to drive through winters without it. Decent winter tires are all you need. I lived/worked in a ski resort and coped fine with a rear drive car.
Originally Posted by Almost Canadian View Post
I completely agree with this and I live rurally. 4WD is not required in the city of Calgary.
But you guys are experienced, seasoned campaigners, I might be able to cope now without 4WD after 5 winters, but during my first couple of years, I enjoyed the comfort of knowing it was there when driving out to the mountains during, or just after, a heavy snowfall. For a newbie, only used to driving in UK conditions, why not get 4WD if it's an option, and doesn't double the cost of the vehicle you're buying?
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Old May 15th 2019, 6:32 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Bucks_Family View Post
But you guys are experienced, seasoned campaigners, I might be able to cope now without 4WD after 5 winters, but during my first couple of years, I enjoyed the comfort of knowing it was there when driving out to the mountains during, or just after, a heavy snowfall. For a newbie, only used to driving in UK conditions, why not get 4WD if it's an option, and doesn't double the cost of the vehicle you're buying?
It adds weight, and therefore by definition fuel consumption, additional tire wear and more expensive running costs. Newbie or not, care and attention to conditions are just as useful. If you're going places a rear drive car with winter tires and/or chains can't cope with, your lack of experience is unlikely to be saved by 4WD.
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Old May 15th 2019, 6:49 pm
  #34  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Bucks_Family View Post
But you guys are experienced, seasoned campaigners,
Another factor is climate change. The frequency of extreme weather events is bound to increase and severe snowfalls that didn't used to occur will probably become a reality. We had a dump of snow a few years ago that left my minivan at the curb and me on foot for a few days while the 4WD guys went all over. Clearance is an issue.
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Old May 15th 2019, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Almost Canadian View Post
I completely agree with this and I live rurally. 4WD is not required in the city of Calgary.
I'll concede that a 4WD is not REQUIRED, but in my experience it's a good idea. Winter tires for sure, and if you're coming from the UK it can take some time to get used to the winter driving conditions here. That said, I've owned regular front and rear wheel drive vehicles and I personally find them uncomfortably "skittish" in the snow & ice whereas a 4WD is much more sure-footed. Because snow clearing can be delayed or not as effective in rural areas you MAY need a vehicle with a higher clearance to make it through deep snow from time to time. Basically, if you can stretch to a 4WD it's well worth having.
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Old May 15th 2019, 7:15 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Bucks_Family View Post
The whole "you must visit here first" is a good idea IF you have done the "remote research" and you know that this is what you have your heart set on, then it can work without visiting.
Yup, you CAN get by without visiting but, as I've said, we used to deal with folks coming over from the UK and those who had a good idea of what they were getting into generally succeeded while those that failed (and went back to the UK) were more often the ones who had not researched their jobs, home buying, lifestyle or climate. Visiting at least once will give you an idea of the climate & lifestyle (particularly if you come in winter) and you can always chat to a realtor and take a look at some homes while you're here.

The #1 advice would be: if you're in a profession that requires any form of certification or qualification then you MUST check to see if you will need to re-certify or re-qualify here. We've seen lawyers, nurses & cops from the UK fail completely because they thought they would be able to walk straight into the same job with the same salary here. Those that we saw succeed accepted that they would have to spend time working in a lesser job while they worked to re-qualify, and that could take years. Case in point: a qualified, experienced lawyer friend of ours (after she came over) had to spend 2 years working as a legal clerk while she worked towards her bar exam in Alberta, then she had to get a job as a court-provided solicitor before she had the experience to get hired by a private firm. Now, about 12 years in she owns her own firm and is doing fantastically well, but it took time and effort to get there. Another friend of ours was a cop in the UK but had to work as a night security guard for almost 2 years before he could get in to CPS. My own wife was also a cop in the UK but found she couldn't pass all the CPS tests so had to settle (although she enjoyed it later) for a government job instead.
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Old May 15th 2019, 8:42 pm
  #37  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

4WD is a great idea, however, a luxury some of us cannot afford. I have a small car and good winter tires and I am still alive (13 years this summer). Although I do not drive unless absolutely necessary if it gets too snowy out there. Having said that, I found winters in Ontario and Quebec worse.

One thing I wanted to add is that the warm weather bursts in the middle of the winter are very difficult for some people prone to migraines. My friend always had headaches but couldn't last one year in Calgary because of the changes in pressure. Additionally, many cannot handle the smoke from burning forests in the summer. I think last year was the worst I have ever seen it, with half an inch of ashes on my car in the morning and health advisory not to leave the house other than to work and back for months.
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Old May 15th 2019, 8:44 pm
  #38  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by pumbers View Post
I'll concede that a 4WD is not REQUIRED, but in my experience it's a good idea. Winter tires for sure, and if you're coming from the UK it can take some time to get used to the winter driving conditions here. That said, I've owned regular front and rear wheel drive vehicles and I personally find them uncomfortably "skittish" in the snow & ice whereas a 4WD is much more sure-footed. Because snow clearing can be delayed or not as effective in rural areas you MAY need a vehicle with a higher clearance to make it through deep snow from time to time. Basically, if you can stretch to a 4WD it's well worth having.
I came from the UK and arrived in January. So we had to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road/car and cope with winter driving.

Right from the off we went to the mountains and we had bald all season tyres on a minivan. We coped. Later we learned how much better vehicles handled in the winter with winter tyres and all of our vehicles (with the exception of my motorcycle) have had them fitted since.

IMVHO, stopping and sliding in winter is the biggest issue, not pulling away and, while I concede that, if one drives a truck and takes one's foot off the accelerator, the dragging effect of 4 large tyres coupled to an engine is a help, 4WD does not really help with slowing down to avoid issues.
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Old May 15th 2019, 8:53 pm
  #39  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by zdenka View Post
4WD is a great idea, however, a luxury some of us cannot afford. I have a small car and good winter tires and I am still alive (13 years this summer). Although I do not drive unless absolutely necessary if it gets too snowy out there. Having said that, I found winters in Ontario and Quebec worse.

One thing I wanted to add is that the warm weather bursts in the middle of the winter are very difficult for some people prone to migraines. My friend always had headaches but couldn't last one year in Calgary because of the changes in pressure. Additionally, many cannot handle the smoke from burning forests in the summer. I think last year was the worst I have ever seen it, with half an inch of ashes on my car in the morning and health advisory not to leave the house other than to work and back for months.
This might also be a problem for people with arthritis .............. a lot of us respond adversely to changes in atmospheric pressure.

I can't tell you that rain/sun/cold changes are coming in advance (some people can), but I certainly know after the change has happened, with severe pain each time until my body has adjusted to the change.

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Old May 15th 2019, 11:03 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

This old chestnut... Yes you can get around on 2WD, but at negligible extra cost in the used market for AWD, why the hell would you do without the utility and convenience of AWD. It's almost harder to find a vehicle here these days without it.

Lots of heros here who are always touting how they get around just fine without it. And that's great. I remember when I used to write letters too, but I'm not about to give up my email to go back to that.

Just get something with AWD and a set of winter tires (not all seasons) and be done with it.

Last edited by Photoplex; May 15th 2019 at 11:06 pm.
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Old May 16th 2019, 12:53 am
  #41  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by Photoplex View Post
This old chestnut... Yes you can get around on 2WD, but at negligible extra cost in the used market for AWD, why the hell would you do without the utility and convenience of AWD. It's almost harder to find a vehicle here these days without it.

Lots of heros here who are always touting how they get around just fine without it. And that's great. I remember when I used to write letters too, but I'm not about to give up my email to go back to that.

Just get something with AWD and a set of winter tires (not all seasons) and be done with it.
Well put. That's what I was trying to get at. Plus I've taken my FWD veloster, with winter tires, to Nakiska for the day. 8" of snow fell during the day, and I had to spend 30 minutes digging it out, and have some help pushing it, to get it out of the parking lot. If I'd have taken my truck, I'd have got in and driven away.
Yes, it's possible to get by without AWD, but why bother? The additional expense is negligible in the long run when weighed against the convenience (and safety, when paired with sensible driving) of having it.
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Old May 16th 2019, 11:46 am
  #42  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

I personally don't like AWD cars, I've never lived anywhere yet that I've needed one, even in the Arctic.

We have a large SUV and a smaller hatch, both FWD and both with good ground clearance, which is important in my opinion as if you grate the underneath of your vehicle on a snow rut you risk spinning off course, as I did in a low to the ground sedan we had once.

I've always found AWD gives a false sense of security, as others have said it doesn't help you stop and that's the main issue in the snow. It does make you feel that the conditions aren't as bad as they are though, so you feel like it's safe enough to go faster, and that's when things start to go wrong.

FWD vehicles are better for snow driving newbies like this as they help you learn your limits in conditions, and honestly if as an inexperienced snow driver you're trying to go somewhere a FWD vehicle can't get you perhaps have a think about whether you should stay home.
Or as in places we've lived where you can't get to work by car in winter, use a snowmobile/ATV.

An AWD vehicle isn't going to stop you crashing, its just going to make you feel like you're fine as you managed to pull out of your driveway without issue.

Excellent winter tires are one of the best buys, we buy studded tires (do check your municipality allows them) and have a steep, long driveway which I make a half hearted efford at clearing the snow from so it usually turns into sheet ice (amazing for sledging for our child + friends) and we have no issues getting in and out.

Also, don't make the rookie New Canadian mistake of buying a truck until you've got some winter driving experience. Trucks are not forgiving to novice snow drivers, it is shockingly easy to lose the back end even when you've weighted it.
95% of the crashed vehicles I've seen in winter are trucks, perhaps because people get the "I'm invincible in my truck" mentality?

​​​​​We ended up, unintentionally, with a truck briefly but got rid of it asap fortunately. Never again. They are the one kind of vehicle I would not have, but I think I'm safe as my husband hates them even more than me!
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Old May 16th 2019, 11:56 am
  #43  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Sorry I meant to add, the difference in fuel economy between FWD and AWD is huge too, and really adds up if you're going a lot of miles.
AWD isn't just a negligible one off cost, its an ongoing and very real one.
Most of the "I wouldn't have been able to get there of I didn't have AWD" is actually a ground clearance issue, and not an AWD issue.

Not being snarky here, but if you don't feel confident not driving an AWD, how about some driving lessons instead? Many driving instructors do winter driving lessons, tailored to those without snow driving experience. Friends of ours who moved from the Middle East have had them and said they were invaluable.
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Old May 16th 2019, 1:40 pm
  #44  
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Default Re: Calgary questions

I agree with just about everything that's been posted so far; not a black and white issue. I love the front wheel drive mini-van and wouldn't switch it for another type unless I lived somewhere really rough...... actually, my friend who lives up in the bush and has brutal access through the forest also drives an old mini-van and has no plans to go 4WD. He shovels a bit more than if he had a big truck, though. I just use all season tires, but lots of people keep a spare set of snow tires and change them over in winter. With mountain driving so close, I'd do that in Calgary. When I had the '67 Austin Gipsy I was in my 20's and had less fear and common sense than I do now, and often took it where angels fear to tread, and never got it stuck (just lucky, really), but I remember the advice of the man who sold it to me (and who I sold it back to years later) "If you do get it stuck, it's going to be in a hell of a place, and probably hard to pull out." The front hubs had notched spools on them, and I carried a sledge hammer and 3' steel spike and a cable so I could winch myself out if necessary, but never needed to. Driving right into the swamp so my girlfriend could pick cat-tails really impressed her.
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Old May 16th 2019, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Calgary questions

Originally Posted by caretaker View Post
Driving right into the swamp so my girlfriend could pick cat-tails really impressed her.

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