There we all were, moaning about the lack of snow and then it came, seemingly in a matter of minutes… At around 3.30am on Saturday morning some Cool Bus drivers were setting out to work, from Bourg-Saint-Maurice up to nearby resorts, snow free roads all the way, only to be met by carnarge on the way back down the valley en-route to airports servicing the area – Geneva, Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble. The day had only just started and for many it would (hopefully) be the longest day and in fact weekend of the year! Quite frankly, we’ve never experienced roads like it. The main routes to and from the Tarentaise – through Moutiers and Albertville particularily, were gridlocked. Perhaps those worst affected were holidaymakers starting out their journeys on Saturday morning to the airport from Tignes, Val d’Isere and Ste. Foy. Reports say that a bus crashed and blocked the Ste. Foy road which then created mass queues on the only road that services these resorts – no way out, literally. It was TWELVE, yes TWELVE hours later that some vehicles got down to the end of the valley, a drive that would normally only take an hour at most! The knock-on effect from such incidents was the main cause of problems throughout the day, that and drivers getting stuck here, there and literally everywhere including the fast lane of the motorway, before it was standstill! It is so important to be prepared for travel to the mountains in the winter, to actually know how to put snow chains and to not leave it too late in the event of snow on the roads but equally, not drive on snow-free roads at 20km/ph with chains on… Together with the sheer volume of traffic that is inevitable on this weekend of the year (between Christmas and New Year) and this instant snowfall, the motorways of the Savoie and all connecting roads to ski resorts were riddled with accidents, blockages and queues. What many people don’t know and without giving too much away, there are some excellent back road shortcuts that we here at Cool Bus use when times are hard on the main roads. Wherever possible, we tried to use every ounce of our knowledge and experience to bypass the jams and even though there were indeed some journey times well into double figures, we’ve had some greatly appreciated feedback from many of our customers – some of whom made their flights and others who weren’t so lucky. Getting people to their destination safely is our main priority and we are glad to report we were 100% successful.
“Just wanted to say a huge thanks to Emily for getting us to Geneva yesterday . The conditions were atrocious. We hope Emily got back safely. She was a trooper and was very helpful and always positive,” Robert, Donna, Izzy, Jakey.
“We just wanted to say how fantastic Wayne was when we were stuck in all the chaotic traffic en route from Lyon to Val d’Isere yesterday. He tried every possible short cut and had endless patience even with two young children and four adults in his load. We would not have got through without his skill and knowledge. He kept his good humour in spite of a very long day. Thank you,” Alice and Ian Herve.
“Firstly want to thank our skilled driver Will for getting us safely,courteously and patiently to Les Arcs yesterday,” Damian McManus
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank her (Sheryl) for her amazing driving yesterday. She drove fearlessly for 6 gruelling hours in a snowstorm that stopped many others in their tracks. She took short cuts and made quick-thinking decisions to avoid the huge jams and blockages on our way. Luckily, our flight was delayed to allow us to fly home but without her skilful driving we would be either stranded or injured. Please pass on my huge thanks to her and wish her and Ivan a very happy future together-Sheryl is one of life’s “good guys” and I was privileged to have met her,” Alicia Syson
“Please thank Niall for his epic back way driving. Please let us know that he got home safely,” Sally
“Can I just pass on my thanks to your team for getting us back to Geneva last night? It must have been a chaotic day, but your driver Lauren was extremely good – a fast but safe and smooth driver who was a pleasure to deal with,” Janet Bettle
“My family and I travelled into Geneva from Belfast yesterday and were due to be picked up by a private transfer arranged by Ski Lifts …. Due to the chaos, their driver ran out of hours and your driver Robyn Maddison very kindly came to the rescue as he was transferring another family to Le Plagne and offered us a lift and as it turned out a life line, as without his tenacity and determination we would still be in Geneva. I must compliment you and your firm on the quality of your vehicles and drivers ….. Robyn was simply magnificent. He knew all the back roads and got around the Autoroutes that had simply become carparks …. Robyn drove us for over 10 hours and would not give up, networking all of your other drivers on the road and your control for every ounce of intelligence as to what was drivable and what was not …. Eventually crawling up the Le Plagne hill through 21 hairpin bends, to drop us at the front door of our hotel….. Remarkable … When most other skiers were spending a night on the floor of the local school or town hall and he still had a two hour drive home to negotiate Please pass on our thanks and best wishes to all your team …. Truly brilliant, above and beyond the call of duty service yesterday …. Well done…” Lee Callow
“I just wanted to say thank you to our wonderful driver (Wayne). He got us to the airport yesterday with 6 minutes to spare and we made it on to our plane ( with a little bit of queue barging) !!” Mary Ann Rolfe and Family
“I just wanted to email to say a huge thank you to you and particularly to Sam who picked us up from Les Arcs yesterday for our transfer to Geneva airport. It was an horrific journey and he was absolutely brilliant, bearing in mind he was transporting 3 children for nearly 10 hours!! He is a credit to your company. Please pass on our thanks to him again, we really appreciate his calmness and humour as well as his safe and careful driving in really awful conditions. Thank you again for a second year of well organised transfers. Hope to be in touch again next year!” Jackie Jeffries and family
Thanks to all of our drivers for their hard work and patience and here’s hoping we don’t see another weekend like this for at least another 15 years!