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Now if the driving in the snow statement includes a Cayenne or new Macan or even a four-wheel drive version of the Panamera or 911, then there is nothing to see here…please move along. But if it’s a two wheel drive Porsche and maybe an old enough vintage that traction control was just a gleam in some product planner’s eye, then read on. This could be fun…or not.

The first time I drove a Porsche in the snow happened back in 2009. The inaugural Porsche Club of America Maverick Region DE was about to run at the brand new Eagles Canyon Raceway. There was no way I was going to miss that. You see, the prior year I had snuck on the track while it was under construction in my race prepped Miata and run some hot laps with a friend in another Miata. That just gave us a taste that we wanted more.

I had just started running “R” rated tires on my 1993 968 (Toyo R888’s if I remember correctly) and needed to have the alignment set correctly to dial in more camber during hard cornering. So I dropped the car off on Thursday and was supposed to pick it up later in the day. But the shop called, they were running behind and the car would not be ready until Friday afternoon. But freakishly, the weather forecast called for some snow. Like 8+ inches, in Dallas, in early March. Yeah right!

Yeah Right!! My wife dropped me at the shop and since they were still running behind, I did not leave till after 3:00. Problem is, the snow started falling at 11:00. No not falling, like dumping, white out conditions. I should have called my wife and asked her to come back and fetch me, leaving the car at the shop over the weekend, but I would have missed the DE. The weathermen said the snow would be melted by Saturday morning, they promised! So in my infinite wisdom I decided to drive home.

A properly track prepped 968 with Toyo –R rated tires is questionable on the street in the rain. But in the snow, it was like having pure race slicks. Really, it was the same thing. Driving along at 20mph behind a very long que of cars, I suddenly realized a very terrible thing. Tiny inclines of 2-3 degrees got you stuck. Something you do not even think about at all suddenly seems like a mountain. OMG, I almost got stuck several times, there was simply no traction to be had. I was almost in panic mode. I could see the traffic ahead crawl to a stop and I kept begging them to go, please go, crap just start moving! I could not stop for fear of not being able to get enough traction again.

The road I was on has several hills and lights and I knew that I was screwed. So I called one of my track friends and explained the situation. He lives near me and knows the back roads pretty well, the places that avoided long lines and most important stop signs or lights that had any sort of incline. But to get to this back road, I had just one hurdle to climb. It was an incline, at a stop sign, no more than 3 degrees. Or in other words – for the 968 on that day, in the snow, it was a bloody massive mountain. By now the snow was 6+ inches and still falling. And this Porsche was WAY out of its element. I crawled forward till it was my turn. I lugged it way down in first and got nothing but wheel spin. I back up and tried again. Nothing. Now the cars behind me were getting antsy. Several other cars went through the intersection seeing I could not move. It was very bad.

But, I was not about to give up. I started rocking the car between 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] gear and reverse and after getting enough momentum (it took like 5 tries to get there) the car lugged down enough so that the R888 got a tiny bite in the snow and even though the tires were spinning wildly, the cars moved up the tiny incline (aka huge mountain) and slewing back and forth moved forward at the speed of a very slow Sloth like crawl. Once I started moving, even though it was not my turn to go, I prayed that the other cars had noticed my predicament and would let me go. Thankfully they did. And after another 40 minutes of pure terror, I made it home completely spent.

The snow did mostly melt by morning and I will say it was an interesting DE with a bit of snow still on the track that Saturday. Sunday? Well we have this thing called Texas Weather, as in if you do not like it, wait 30 minutes and it will change. It was a perfect 68 degrees.

So I said to myself that I would never drive a two wheel Porsche in the snow. Never, Never, Never. Till yesterday. I flew in from a business trip and noted the snow swirling around the plane as we landed. Great… By the time I got to my 2001 Boxster S, a couple of inches had fallen and it was still coming down hard. Thank goodness I park in the terminal garage, so at least the car is out of the elements. I let it warm up before I took to the roads. Back in the day when I drove my 968, few, if any, knew what the car was. They probably thought, “Poor guy, bad luck to be in that sports car”. But in a red Boxster? They probably thought “F’ing idiot, he deserves to get stuck in that thing.”

I texted my wife and we debated which way to go. Eventually I decided to go surface streets. Getting out of the airport was not bad. But as I got to the main surface street it started getting worse. Even at stoplights I struggled for traction. And this is with the traction control light glowing and making strange sounds for crying out loud. Oh and why is when you really do not want to get caught at any stop light, you hit them all. And when you need to stop to get something out of your pocket or check a text, you never hit one. Yeah, I hit them all.

Remember the part about small inclines, well almost all the lights along this route have small inclines and it was not fun. At one point there is a fairly long downhill section with a light at the bottom and then a pretty steep hill (by Texas standards anyway) and I thought, oh crap, if I get stopped at that light I may not make it up that hill. I slowed enough to hit the light (it was turning caution as I approached) and had enough momentum / traction to make it. But later there is a T-intersection (with heavy construction as it is being widened). As I approached the LONG line of cars backed up and stopped I noticed the 4 degree incline or “massively steep mountain”. So I had to be “that guy” and jumped into the lane that was about to end. That short stretch got me over the incline and I incurred lots of honking of horns and shaking of fists as I had to cut the line to re-enter. Its like I sometime say to myself, most people expect a Porsche driver to be a d-bag, so why disappoint them? But I did not get stuck.

Funny thing, I made it to my neighborhood where we live in the back, up a small hill and as I approached the house I just had one more incline to conquer. But it was one too many, the Boxster could not get enough traction / momentum to make it. I had to slide back down the hill and try another street. Just made it into my garage, the wheels starting to slip, I had enough forward speed to make it the last few feet. I turned off the ignition, totally spent. This is the last time I will ever drive a two wheel Porsche in the snow. Never, Never, Never. Till next time no doubt.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.
 

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Glad you made it. My son lives in Keller and he and his family had to drive here (Alabama) yesterday for my wifes fathers funeral. Took 7 hours to get across Dallas. I keep my old Audi TT handy for situations like this and for daily utility driving. AWD has it's place even in the South!
 

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I live in Dallas. Like many others here, Just a few days each year brings the weather related anxiety of sliding my two wheel drive 3-series with performance tires all over the place, mostly on ice with some snow. The ice hit so bumpy last year, driving on it broke my windshield. The drive is easier on all weather tires. It's just a few days but I'm going to order my boxster with 19" wheels for the tire options.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Here's one for ya. I live in the Phoenix area, and spent new years in LaJolla, CA with some close friends. Well, not even contemplating that we would hit a blizzard between Phoenix and San Diego, I took the CS. I love the mountain pass on I8 in the Cayman and the cool december air really adds a little life to the car up that hill. What I found at the top of the hill was a winter wonderland that made me feel as though I was driving somewhere closer to the Canadian border than the Mexican one. Well, having learned how to drive in Maine, and having a bit of rally driving experience paid off. The 987 is a wonderfully balanced chassis, and my softer than stock spring rates and lack of a rear sway bar were also helpful. haha.



The mountains in the distance are in Mexico. As I was driving past the wind farm at the bottom of the hill, the conditions were near blizzard winds and snowfall. An amazing way to end 2014.
 

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Around 1993, driving my '82 928 through a nasty snowstorm on I-15 in southern Utah -- some time well after sunset. Was hoping to make it to Salt Lake City that night, but the storm had other ideas. I was on summer tires. Decided as I hit Cedar City that continuing to drive was not a good idea, and started to exit.

To get off the Interstate, I had to leave the relative safety and traction of following the well defined tire tracks in the right lane. As soon as I did, going no faster than maybe 25-30 MPH, the front tires lost all grip and I plowed straight off the road into the grassy inner circle of the exit loop. Fortunately, a 4WD Jeep following me saw the whole thing and stopped and offered help. He found a rope in his Jeep and some 10 minutes later, we were able to get the 928 out of the grass. I drove to the nearest motel, probably never exceeding 5 MPH. Woke up the next morning and the snow had stopped, the temperature was near 40 degrees F, the roads had been plowed, and I actually got to enjoy the drive to SLC in daylight rather than having a dark, slippery, white-knuckle nightmare.

I don't think I ever drove it in the snow again. :)
 
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