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Old 13.01.2021, 14:32
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Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

Prob not the smartest idea in the world, but I'm not the smartest person.

So I'm driving in next couple days to St Moritz for a quick stay before returning to Zurich.

I had booked a random car but on advise from other people upgraded the car to some AWD model.

But then someone mentioned that you might need snow chains....I thought the roads would be clear enough (presuming car rental has winter tyres..) and can you even use snow chains on AWD?

Looking at my car rental it does not seem to come with chains. Is it obligatory to have these? Also what realistically are the conditions going to be like? Driving will be done in the evening so not expecting any great sights which is a shame (unless anyone has recommendations of a particular route to take?)

Thanks.
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Old 13.01.2021, 14:39
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Prob not the smartest idea in the world, but I'm not the smartest person.

So I'm driving in next couple days to St Moritz for a quick stay before returning to Zurich.

I had booked a random car but on advise from other people upgraded the car to some AWD model.

But then someone mentioned that you might need snow chains....I thought the roads would be clear enough (presuming car rental has winter tyres..) and can you even use snow chains on AWD?

Looking at my car rental it does not seem to come with chains. Is it obligatory to have these? Also what realistically are the conditions going to be like? Driving will be done in the evening so not expecting any great sights which is a shame (unless anyone has recommendations of a particular route to take?)

Thanks.
Yes you can use snow chains on AWD - often just on the front wheels (so you can still steer), but in principle you can put them on all four for maximum grip.

It is obligatory to have them available on some roads, I don't know about the route to St Moritz, and it is also obligatory to not drive dangerously which could be interpreted as needing chains.

The best route to St Moritz is on the train in the carriage with panoramic roof. The best road route (imo) is Albula pass, but that's closed in winter.
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Old 13.01.2021, 14:50
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Prob not the smartest idea in the world, but I'm not the smartest person.

So I'm driving in next couple days to St Moritz for a quick stay before returning to Zurich.

I had booked a random car but on advise from other people upgraded the car to some AWD model.

But then someone mentioned that you might need snow chains....I thought the roads would be clear enough (presuming car rental has winter tyres..) and can you even use snow chains on AWD?

Looking at my car rental it does not seem to come with chains. Is it obligatory to have these? Also what realistically are the conditions going to be like? Driving will be done in the evening so not expecting any great sights which is a shame (unless anyone has recommendations of a particular route to take?)

Thanks.
It depends on the weather. There are temporary road signs that say chains are mandatory. If the police considers the road is too slippery, they put the signs and you need to mount them (explanation in German from TCS) https://www.tcs.ch/de/testberichte-r...igatorisch.php

This is the road information site of Graubunden. Today, it seems you can drive up to St. Moritz only with winter tires. But, the weather is weather. It will be not funny to get there and then cannot return as desired. Even less funny to have to buy snow chains up there to be able to leave http://www.strassen.gr.ch/sites/stra...and/karte.html
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Old 13.01.2021, 14:56
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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It depends on the weather. There are temporary road signs that say chains are mandatory. If the police considers the road is too slippery, they put the signs and you need to mount them (explanation in German from TCS) https://www.tcs.ch/de/testberichte-r...igatorisch.php

This is the road information site of Graubunden. Today, it seems you can drive up to St. Moritz only with winter tires. But, the weather is weather. It will be not funny to get there and then cannot return as desired. Even less funny to have to buy snow chains up there to be able to leave http://www.strassen.gr.ch/sites/stra...and/karte.html

That is a useful link thank you. Seems a bit strange they would make snow chains mandatory, but the rental cars do not come with them? (Though I concede that most of the roads do not need them). So having AWD isn't enough to be exempt?
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:00
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

That map is good, no snow chains obligatoty as I see it.

Two options then, drive over Julierpass or take the Vereina car train in Klosters and then drive up the valley. Latter is certainly the less wintery choice, but I remember driving Julier in winter was always fine. Snow on the road, but generally well prepared road.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:03
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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It is obligatory to have them available on some roads, I don't know about the route to St Moritz, and it is also obligatory to not drive dangerously which could be interpreted as needing chains.
Wrong. It is obligatory to put them on the wheels if mandated by the police or signage. In some instance, if this happens, AWD cars are exempted https://www.20min.ch/story/auf-diese...n-988003494717 . But not always. Be aware: it is all wheel drive, all wheel braking offer all cars and thus an AWD is only slightly better when it comes to stopping. If you do not have chains with you, you can simply not proceed with your journey hand have to use an other road or wait till the conditions are better.

There are two possible main routes to get from Zurich to the Engadin and St. Moritz in the Winter. The Julier pass road (which goes up to 2284 m) and the Vereina tunnel (car train) route were St. Moritz is the highest point of the journey. Two more possible escape routes are via Landeck Austria and Maloja-Lago di Como. If conditions are bad expect very long wait times at the Vereina tunnel.

Usually the road over the Julier pass is either free of snow or in such a condition that any car with winter tires can drive over it. Currently the road is "covered in snow" (Schneebedeckt), as are the roads in the Engadin. But there is no need for chains.
See the official map here: http://www.strassen.gr.ch/sites/stra...and/karte.html

Be aware that "covered in snow" (Schneebedeckt) is used pretty liberally. Be not disappointed if the road looks like this:

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Old 13.01.2021, 15:03
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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That map is good, no snow chains obligatoty as I see it.

Two options then, drive over Julierpass or take the Vereina car train in Klosters and then drive up the valley. Latter is certainly the less wintery choice, but I remember driving Julier in winter was always fine. Snow on the road, but generally well prepared road.
Don't forget the disclaimer below the map

Quote:
The road conditions are reported to strassen.gr.ch as up-to-date as possible by our on-site employees. Since the weather conditions and thus the road conditions can change very quickly in the mountains, the direct display of the road conditions is generally not possible.

Any liability of any kind on the basis of the reports is rejected. The signage on site applies.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:05
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Don't forget the disclaimer below the map
Fine, so in worst case you buy a set of snowchains at a gas station in Savognin. Assuming it is not a Sunday and not after 7pm.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:08
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

Take the Maloja, only 1815msm.

Tom
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:12
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Fine, so in worst case you buy a set of snowchains at a gas station in Savognin. Assuming it is not a Sunday and not after 7pm.
7 pm? More like 7 am. If chains become mandatory they will sell like hot cakes.
https://www.suedostschweiz.ch/touris...n-schneeketten
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:13
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Fine, so in worst case you buy a set of snowchains at a gas station in Savognin. Assuming it is not a Sunday and not after 7pm.
I guess it's one of those personal responsibility situations.

But, is it worth for OP to spend 300 CHF for snowchains (new) for a rental car? Maybe just ask the rental company for the chains. They're offered as an option like child seats. That's the reason they're not included by default, some people don't need them, make a profit from the people that ask them.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:15
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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Take the Maloja, only 1815msm.

Tom
From Zurich?
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:16
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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I guess it's one of those personal responsibility situations.

But, is it worth for OP to spend 300 CHF for snowchains (new) for a rental car? Maybe just ask the rental company for the chains. They're offered as an option like child seats. That's the reason they're not included by default, some people don't need them, make a profit from the people that ask them.
OP's problem really. Or just take the Vereina, cost one way is 33 CHF.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:17
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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From Zurich?
Via Lugano.

Tom
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:28
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

The easiest way to drive is Zürich to Chur --> Thusis --> St. Moritz.
If you do need chains, you'll need them for the Julierpass and maybe more of the road, depending on the snow level.

It does seem like snow is expected during the next couple of days, so you might need to put chains on... as people said - on your front wheels.

A couple of things to keep in mind:
- You need your tire size to buy the chains - they aren't a 'one size fits all' thing. Just google 'how to find your tire size' and they'll be plenty of guides.
- Putting on chains is really not difficult, but it is difficult to do on the side of a mountain road in the snow while drivers pass very close by. If you have a chance, practice once or twice before you drive off.

Just a thought... did you consider taking the train to St. Moritz? It isn't so quick, but might be much more relaxing that a mountain drive to someplace you've never been in the dark?

Enjoy your trip... the upper engadine valley is beautiful.

Another thought... St. Moritz itself is not a particularily pretty town, but the nearby towns.. moloja, celerina and many others are very cute.
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Old 13.01.2021, 15:33
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

Flakey, speaking of the car train (1 option) to get there, this is more or less what you have to do. As you can see no one is explaining what to do because everyone knows what to do

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Old 13.01.2021, 15:47
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

Migros has plenty of chains in various sizes for less than 100 Chf.
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:10
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

I rang the car rental place up who said that the tyres will be sufficient. He said if there are chains available on the day then they would be included as I had already paid a winter fee. But he was not confident there was any.

He also said the fine for being caught was "only 100 CHF" so would be cheaper than buying them.....

quite surprising for a very large agency! But maybe I am overthinking this. I'm not used to snow driving but I have a lot of experience driving so I am sure it will be fine....
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:28
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

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He also said the fine for being caught was "only 100 CHF" so would be cheaper than buying them.....
If they even let you pass. If chains for AWD vehicles become mandatory expect the following:
- Police check and only those with mounted chains are allowed to pass.
- Road conditions were chains are not just a recommendation.

In other situation the police can simply forbid you to drive further unless chains are mounted.

The big fine and hassle comes when you crash the car w/o chains when chains had been mandatory. Not only is the fine in such a situation a bit higher (there is not set fine as it will be a citation instead a simple fine from the police) but also the insurance might nit cover you as it is considered gross negligence.
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Old 13.01.2021, 16:31
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Re: Driving from Zurich to St Moritz

On snowy days there may be a "Kettenpflicht" on some roads.

Symbol is this one:



But in most cases, if you have an 4x4, it's not required.

Here you can know if there's a "Kettenpflicht" before hitting the road: http://strassen.gr.ch/sites/strassenzustand/karte.html

Purple marked roads require snow-chains.

Remember you can not drive above 50 kmph with snow-chains. Remember to remove them before entering the speedway. Don't be this guy.

If you're renting a car, the car should include snow-chains in the baggage. At least Mobility cars have 'em.
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