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Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Philadelphia...
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Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Hi,

We are planning on attending the QC Winter Festival 2014 this February. As flights are extremely expensive, we have decided that it would be much more economical to just drive there from Pennsylvania (we live near Philadelphia). I am a little worried about the drive itself though in the middle of the winter - how are the road conditions? I know nobody can predict the weather but generally are the highways from US into QC clear and drivable? We do have a 4wd car but will be having just general M+S tires, no studs or any other deep snow / ice condition type of specialty tires.

Any insight appreciated to help us better prepare for the trip!

Thank you!

Quebec
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for Mont Tremblant
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1. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

That is a LNG drive that will take you through some hilly and remote areas. In summer it is just fine, but in winter in can be a horror.

AWD can do little to help you drive, it can help if you are stuck though. Winter, ice and snow, tires are essential as is winter driving experience.

In any day in February we might have freezing rain, ice, black ice, snow, blowing snow, whiteouts and even rain. All of which can make a winter drive way above the average drivers skill level.

When weather is bad we tend to stay home, school is cancelled etc etc. if you can plac your trip that way you might be fine. But bear in mind roads and highways can be snow coveted and then driving is a whole different experience and regular tires just do not grip the road like snow tires do. Braking distances much longer and skidding a high possibility.

My advice is to fly to Quebec City and take a taxi. The city is very walkable.

Montreal
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2. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Bogwoppit is so right: Don't drive... Fly or take the train (and plan an extra day because it is very slow..) but at least, you'll be safe!

Don't chance it. Winter tires are mandatory here in winter for a reason. Even with these tires, you can end up in the ditch because of icy roads.

SE Ontario
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3. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

I assume you have winter driving experience, being from Philadelphia ( I myself was caught in an ice storm there a few years ago). The highways in Canada are much like those in the US, and during winter are kept open and clear as well as and as timely as they can be during storm conditions. If you are determined to do the trip by car, I would suggest you keep your eye on the weather, and have the ability to be flexible in your plans - in case you have to stop somewhere and wait it out. And yes - winter snow tires are beneficial. I'm not sure what route you plan to take - I-87 would be the fastest, but perhaps I-91 might have more "bolt holes" in terms of towns along the way.

I should say though that I don't drive to Montreal and QC in winter ... just too stressful.

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Hmmm... not encouraging at all! :( We lived in northern Germany for 4 years and I am originally from Latvia which is northern Europe so I (we) know very well what winters can look like. Also in Latvia snow tires are mandatory after Nov 1.

Here in Pennsylvania winters are not too bad though with an exception of some occasional storms after which the roads are quickly salted an cleared so we drive with all season tires all year round.

We for sure won't fly as it is ridiculous $700+ per ticket for this 1.5hr flight simply because the flight leaves the US. I can drive there (in normal conditions) in 10hrs for under $100 for gas with 4 people in the car... So the math just doesn't work here... :D

Are there any preferences over I-97 or I-81 when it comes to the maintenance in the winter? I would expect all major hyws to be salted and cleaned, no? How about Quebec City itself?

Thanks!

SE Ontario
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5. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Well really you should be asking in the US forums how the highways are cleared ...

We can only speak to the ones here in Canada.

Why I-81 and not I-87? I-81 will land you quite a bit west of Montreal in Ontario.

Edited: 5:18 pm, August 23, 2013
Philadelphia...
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6. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Sorry, I meant I-87, not 81.

And you are right about the highways. I was just wondering if anyone, who has actually done the drive (or similar) in winter had any experience to share... Canadian or American...

Quebec, Canada
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7. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

I have done this many times over the years. I usually take i-87. My advice listen to weather conditions in advance and be prepared to postpone trip for a day if storm coming. Always drive during the day, not at night, better visibility, less chances of ice on road. In Quebec city where I lived for 12 years, there is usually no problems at all. Since there is always lots of snow in Quebec city , equipment is always ready and pretty quick to remove snow from highways and major streets. In Quebec park overnight in an indoor parking, more expensive but if there is snow, the city may decide to remove snow from streets or sidewalks for up to 4 days after a snowstorm so you have to move your car from the streets overnight and if you don't they will tow you and charge a hefty fine.

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Thank you! Your post makes me feel a little better! :)

Massachusetts
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for Quebec City, Block Island
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9. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

I 87 is a cery good roa to travel in winter. go slow if conditions are bad and use caution and common sense and you should be fine.

Once you cross into Canada the land will be much flater for the drive to Quebec City. That doesn't mean you have free rein to speed, and conditions can still be tricky, but it won't be as bad as the mountains in my opinion.

We usually plan in an extra day if possible so that if conditions are bad either going up or coming back we can wait a day before traveling.

Use common sense and you'll be just fine.

JDP

Philadelphia...
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10. Re: Quebec City Winter Festival - drive from Philadelphia

Thank you very much!!! So from what I have gathered then I-91 has mountains and a bit more tricky to go on during the winter, correct? Judging from mapquest, our route would take us on 87 into Montreal and then off to Quebec... Would that be the most reasonable route to pick?