Aren’t you also tired of the slush under your feet and wheels, the mix of snow and water that falls from the sky every winter, and the daily morning ice? Then this selection is for you! We’ve selected seven truly wintry and very snowy places where, to our surprise, you can still get around in your cars.
Where to go if you really want snow? Farther north, of course! And what can be farther than Norway’s North Cape, Europe’s northernmost point? That’s right, nothing.
Of course, you will say that technically North Cape is not the northernmost point of Europe. That’s because it’s not on the mainland, but on an island. Whereas Spitsbergen (also an island!), on which, somehow incomprehensibly, people still live, partly belongs to Norway, and therefore is also Europe. That is, the outermost point of the “old world” is there…
But enough of boring! After all, North Cape, in contrast to Spitsbergen, can be reached by car. By the road called E69.
In its current form, this highway appeared in 1999. It is the northernmost road in the world, connected to the main network of tracks and highways in the country. The E69 is 129 kilometers long, of which more than 15 kilometers are tunnels. One of them goes under the Barents Sea! It connects continental Norway with the island of Magerøya, where Nordkapp is located.
Naturally, due to severe weather conditions, part of the road is sometimes closed. This is the last part of the road that leads to the cape. It takes place from October to April. But even when the road is officially closed, you can still get to the cape by convoy and get to the northernmost point of Europe. By car.
Probably motorists in Oymyakon never take off their winter tires. Partly because it snows 230 out of 365 days a year. And tire wear can hardly be called the main problem here…
“If you leave a car with the engine running for four hours, it too will freeze, the wheels will turn to stones. Of course, you can drive such a car, but very carefully and slowly. Just imagine: is it comfortable to drive on the wheels, which resemble the shape of an egg? And we had to drive like that every winter,” the Oymyakon residents say. – It’s not uncommon for the wheels to burst in the winter. Car metal frames regularly crack, and plastic bumpers shatter into dust from the freezing cold. The most brutal thing that can happen to a motorist is if the heater in his car breaks down. Of course, everything is glued, the doors and the vents, but the cold gets into the car anyway, and the car itself gets cold because of the outside air.
The average temperature in Oymyakon is minus 15.5 degrees Celsius during the year.
These people live in Verkhoyansk, which, like Oymyakon, is located in Yakutia. The temperature there is already minus and snowing, and by November the temperature will drop to almost minus 30. The average annual temperature here is minus 14.5 degrees. That is, technically, it is still a little warmer here than in Oymyakon.
The lowest temperature was recorded in Verkhoyansk at the end of the century before last: the thermometer then showed -67.8 degrees. And even if it’s not as eerie as in Oymyakon, it’s still damn cold!
In spite of everything, 1,125 people live in Verkhoyansk. This, by the way, makes Verkhoyansk a town, even if it is one of the smallest in Russia.
There is “only” 624 kilometers between Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon. So, in theory, to see both these sights, to inspect local roads and to listen to the real crack of snow under your feet and wheels is possible in about a week. The main thing is not to get cold.
If you believe the Hollywood movies, people in most northern U.S. towns lead very quiet and measured lives. The men all work in one place and sip Bud together in the evenings at the town’s only bar, while their wives club together, sipping cocoa and marshmallows. It’s probably the same in Valdez, Alaska. Except that in the winter, the people of this port town have a hard time.
A record amount of snow was recorded in Valdese during the winter of 1990. Twenty-six years ago, nearly fifteen meters (METERS!) of rain fell on the city.
According to Weather.com, Valdese is the champion of snowfall champions in the United States. And that’s assuming that the news is regularly peppered with pictures of snow-covered American cities. But Valdis doesn’t make the news, because snow doesn’t surprise any of its 4,000 residents.
Snowfalls in Valdese begin in October and sometimes continue through May. And in eight months more than 750 centimeters of snow fall on the port. Seven and a half meters! Can you imagine that! If you live in the U.S. and want to drive on snowy roads, now you know where to go.
The Japanese prefecture of Aomori, which occupies more than 800 square kilometers, is quite far from the northern regions of the planet and generally not famous for extreme cold. Nevertheless it doesn’t prevent Aomori from being one of the snowiest places not only in Japan but also in the world.
Serious snowfall here starts only in December. But until February and March it rains so much that during the season it snows about seven meters! If that doesn’t impress you, here is another interesting fact about snowfalls in Aomori: Out of 31 days in January, 28 days it snows.
And what roads Aomori has! There are a lot of mountains and forests in the region. That means you can’t build straight as an arrow autobahns here. That’s why all tracks here are full of turns and hairpin turns of different degree of slope pierced through the snow strata many meters deep. And the water is not far away – Mutsu Bay.
This seems to be one of the best places on the planet to go in winter by car.
There is a village in Chukotka called Ayon. Once there was the richest state farm, which in the best years was able to buy and give the state a tanker. Now there is a kindergarten and a junior school with its own web-site, a hospital, about 200 inhabitants… and no permanent car connection to the mainland.
And on the other shore of the East Siberian Sea stretches beautiful Pevek, the northernmost city in Russia. The population here is 23 times more than in Ayon, and unlike its neighbors, they don’t have to wait until spring to replenish food and fuel supplies.
That’s why a winter road is organized between Pevek and Ayon at the beginning of March every year. This road crossing the ice of East Siberian Sea is one of the largest winter roads in the world. Its length is 120 kilometers.
The “highway” doesn’t work for a long time. At the end of April or beginning of May, the road is closed, because the state of the ice does not allow to let the trucks pass over its surface. At other times, communication between Pevek and Ayon is carried out by helicopter (passenger transportation) or by sea transport (only during the navigation season, which lasts from August to October).
The largest automobile winter road is organized in Canada. It is called the Wapusk Trail. This road is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest seasonal trail. However, this is not surprising. Because its length is an impressive 752 kilometers.
The road runs from January to March. Its starting point is in the town of Gillam, Manitoba, and the end point – in the village of Pivanak, which is inhabited by only three hundred people. Along the way from Gillam on the Wapusk Trail are also the townships of Chamattawa and Fort Severn.
“Pivanak is very isolated from neighboring communities. Therefore, the only way to reach us is through the Wapusk Trail,” reads a post on Pivank’s official website. True, the village has a year-round airport. But who’s going to put a transport plane in the air for a couple of cases of canned goods and a few boxes of chips? After all, there will be a road in January. Of course, if global warming doesn’t turn into a full-blown