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Old 12-31-2012, 10:46 PM   #1
Sol555
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Default First time to Sno*Drift- Suggestions?

I couldn't decide if this should go in the Motorsports section, but since the intent isn't to report schedules or other competition information, I decided to post it here.

I've been to STPR and I plan on going back this year, but there is a good chance I will be overseas again in the summer. So I've decided to make the Sno*Drift Rally January 25th and 26th. Here's a few question I have for anyone who's been and/or can provide some info to make the trip all it can be.

1. What are the best stages to spectate? I know this can be personal preference. I prefer to hit at least two. I read something about jumps...is that a yearly feature?

2. Weather. I've never been farther north in Michigan than Grand Rapids and I will be driving in from Ohio. The roads in/around the Rally appear (from Google Earth) to be very isolated. Are the roads well plowed? Or would a couple of inches the last night mean I was stuck at the hotel?

3. Would you suggest staying in Atlanta or Lewiston? The Friday start is in Lewiston, but Saturday is departing from Atlanta. There aren't any chain hotels up there, so are there any lodges I should avoid? Reviews are hard to come by.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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1. Don't go to the special stage where you need to pay, they are dumb. The best areas tend to be the side roads but you need to know the area. Problem is they tend to shoo people away for safety

2. Highways will be plowed for the most part. Normal roads will all have a bit of snow as they don't plow. Side roads will have deeper and u will need AWD or good winter tires.

3. All towns are nice but most places are booked already...
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sb22284 View Post
1. Don't go to the special stage where you need to pay, they are dumb. The best areas tend to be the side roads but you need to know the area. Problem is they tend to shoo people away for safety
So are you saying the spectator areas are pay-to-enter? The only "free" option is to find my own way to spot out of view of stage workers? That might be a deal breaker for me.

I've found quite a few places to stay that still have space. But everyone is charging an extra 10% "tax" on the exact weekend of the rally.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:48 PM   #4
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the one Special stage can be fun, but you have to pay.

The other spectator areas are free, have portajohns, and LOTS of people. Plan on walking a mile into the stage because of all the cars parked alongside the road. Go to http://www.sno-drift.org to print out the spectator maps and directions. They also have flyers at all the major gas stations and restaraunts in Atlanta (and at the Senior Center that's rally HQ) with maps and schedules. But you'll probably end up following a line of cars to and fro anyhow.

Dress warmly, in layers. you will FREEZE! It's damn cold. It'll be snowing. I bring LOTS of extra socks and 2 pairs of shoes. One for walking/stage and one for when I get back in the car/around town. For layers I have Long Johns, then a t-shirt, then a sweatshirt, then a winter jacket on top, with long johns, and fleece-lined jeans on the bottom. Double layer of socks, and some good gloves. That'll keep you warm for about an hour out in the cold.

I stay in Gaylord, it's about a 45 minute drive away from the rally action, but it's a bigger town, hotels are cheap, and it's nice to have a burger king/ McDonalds around.

Get there thursday night. Parc is at noon on Friday, and trying to drive up, get there by noon to see the cars, then go stage hopping is exhausting. By getting there a day early you get to sleep in, relax, and have fun without the time crunch.

Visit Parc/Service. Lots of fun to see the cars even when they're not on the stages.

Plan to be driving around a lot. To and from the spectator areas, food breaks, service, hotel, etc. It's a lot of driving. Plan accordingly.

DRESS WARM.

And go visit the website!

(if you see a green wagon with roof lights that's lifted, that's me, come say hi!)
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #5
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Thanks, that's pretty much what I expected. I did the mile long walk to the spectator areas at STPR, but I think I'll dress warmer this time around.

They sure seem to be waiting a long time to update their website. Other than a tiny bit of info on the home page, the links don't appear to have been updated since last years rally.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:16 PM   #6
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1) Youtube the spectator spots to see which ones look most appealing to you. It's always a blast no matter what, between the people, cars, and shenanigans. It pays to get to the stages an hour before first car out if you are picky about the view. Plus, it gives you more time to meet people.

2) The roads are usually plowed, with compacted snow/ice on the roads leading to the stages. People do get around on all-seasons, though most have snows.

3) At this point, stay where ever you can find. As has been said, most places are booked by now.

Bring a backpack/satchel/man purse with food and water, and extra layers. You will be out in the cold for awhile, and the temps can drop to single digits very quickly. Hop on Amazon, and buy a big box of hand warmers.

There are a few groups from the Indy area, Gonq area, and other regions that always head up. If you happen to run into one of those groups, you'll more than likely be allowed to caravan with them to and around the stages, provided you know the secret handshake.

And be sure to look out for #267 in Open Light!
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:40 PM   #7
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Sno*Drift is a lot of fun. I went last year with my brother and had a blast.

Last year the Fishlab spectator area was awesome! People had bonfires going and it was a really neat experience. Almost like a beach party, but with snow, snomobile suits, and rally cars....he, he, he...

Take some time and go to Lewiston and walk around the service area.

Really the only thing your paying for on the special stage is the bus ride to the gravel pit. I think there was a parking fee at the pit, but it was much cheaper and easier to just take a shuttle bus in.

I'd be going this year but my brother can't make it and I don't really want to make the trip alone. It just wouldn't be as much fun.

We are planning on going to LSPR again this fall as they just put it back on the national schedule
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tooocool49723 View Post
if you see a green wagon with roof lights that's lifted, that's me, come say hi!
Will do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by I Like It Sideways View Post
And be sure to look out for #267 in Open Light!
I usually hang around the opening Parc Expose with one of those big lens DSLR's dangling off my neck. I'll swing by and say hi.

Hand warmers are a great idea. I've got a great bag I used on my last deployment and an awesome backpacking camp chair. But hand warmers...yes, here I come Amazon...

I'm driving from Northern Virginia with an overnight stop with family in Akron, OH. If I can find a group anywhere on the route, that would be much more fun. I'll be taking my WRX.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
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Right on! I'll keep an eye out for you. We usually float around, but towards the time of first car out, I'll get situated in the car and get down to business.

www.thegonq.com/snodrift

Those guys may have a place you can crash. And they are a group you could caravan/carpool with around the event
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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This will be my first as well. We are staying in Atlanta. Should be a damn good time from what I have heard.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:09 AM   #11
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Always a kickass time. One of the best spectator rallies on the calendar.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:04 PM   #12
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Follow us (the GONQ) This will be like my 7th Sno Drift and I've loved every one of them.

Make sure you hit Fish Lab Rd. on Day 1 though. It's always pretty epic!
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:08 PM   #13
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I went last year, on the fence if I can go this year (and if there is still some room in Gaylord), awesome fun, especially finding some backroad to have some fun on.

Hows the snow situation there right now? Last year it was perfect.
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
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Good information here, thanks! This will be my first year going and had some of the same questions.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:25 PM   #15
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Look for us. Were the crew with the half naked dude and the water balloon slingshots.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:54 PM   #16
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And the LOUDEST group out there also Dewey.



All because....



THEY TOOK OUR JERBS!
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:03 PM   #17
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Haven't been up there in a few years.

1) Volunteer as a stage marshall. You'll get to see rally in a completely different way.
2) IMO, don't stay in Gaylord. Feels like FOREVER when driving back after spectating/working all day.
3) Support rally by paying for the spectator stage. Put more money into the local economy up there.
4) Don't drive like an asshat who thinks they're the next Colin McRae or Richard Burns. It gives the sport a bad name, it makes you a douchebag and it's not necessary.
5) Have fun and dress warm.

Hopefully, I'll be behind the wheel in '14.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:51 PM   #18
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^where the heck have you been?

All great suggestions. To reinforce, any and all spectators, volunteers, competitors, etc are representatives of Rally-America. Bad behavior is not only frowned upon, but also lessens the chance of getting road permits for the following year.

It can also get stages shut down. It has happened at Sno*Drift the past few years.

This has been your Sno*Drift PSA.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #19
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ive been looking a lot into this....i havent seen snow in a long time and would love to make the trip from south florida
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:16 PM   #20
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I'm not sure if I am going to Sno* Drift, I don't have snow tires and the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood is end of next month http://www.100aw.org/
It's the same distance from Chicago, a LOT warmer and you'll have another month to plan and find a place to rest.

My favorite way to enjoy the rally is Volunteer!!

You drive out onstage with a line or cars (yes you get to have some fun)
Close the road when time comes, basically you sit on the side of the coarse all day and watch the cars go by with your buddies, build a campfire, enjoy yourself.

And sometimes Thank you for donating your time swag.

Last edited by Marrz; 01-11-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:49 PM   #21
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I was lucky enough to get a room that opened up near Lewiston. Last year I tried staying in Gaylord and it sucked. Too far away from HQ and the road to get there was dull as hell and miserable at 6 in the morning. The main road may be dry, but everything else should just be flattened and not plowed down to the pavement. If the weather cooperates everything other M32 and M33 will look like this:

You really should have snow tires, and after spending part of December in Quebec I can't believe you're not allowed to use studded tires in Michigan where the conditions are very similar. Extra socks, boots, and heavy gloves are a must, and the heater packets can be useful, too. I need to stock up on a few. Also a flashlight you can put in your coat can be handy, too.

100 AW has had some real freak weather over the years. Just don't go on summer tires and hope there aren't any ice storms. Cuba is close to the highway and okay as a base for spectating, but I normally stay farther south at Montauk State Park's lodge since they're getting it ready for Trout Season that starts a week after the rally and all the rooms are freshly cleaned. It's a big, spread out rally with a lot of driving.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:11 PM   #22
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I would third or fourth volunteering to marshall or if a team is looking for someone to crew that's not a bad gig either. I've done both as well as spectated on my own a couple times.

Definitely be careful driving on the roads up there, if all goes as planned they will be pretty terrible. I trailered someone else's rally car behind a Ford Exploder one year, at night, to Lewiston and don't think I've ever gripped a steering wheel that hard.

Can't stress warm clothing enough either. Standing in one spot spectating outside, and possibly standing in the snow, makes quick work of any warmth you might have.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:27 PM   #23
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Sol - did you figure out sleeping arrangements?
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:01 PM   #24
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Those of you heading to SnoDrift for the weekend should have snow. I drove up to Sault Ste. Marie yesterday and the Grayling/Gaylord area was getting some pretty wicked snow. Visibility was probably less than 100ft.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #25
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Heading up from WNY at the butt crack of dawn friday, green 03 OBS with 3 dudes. If you see us, make sure and holler!
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