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Old 05-02-2018, 04:24 PM
 
17 posts, read 11,673 times
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I am considering a job in Ketchikan (with the hospital). I currently live in sunny (but expensive) California. I've been told that Ketchikan has very steep roads that get very slippery/snowy/icy in the winter, and that 4WD or at least AWD is basically a necessity for locals. However, my wife and I paid a lot of money for fairly new FWD vehicles. I have a 2014 Ford Fiesta with less than 30,000 miles and she has a 2017 Dodge Caravan with barely 5,000 miles on it. We paid cash for these brand new cars, and were hoping to drive them for a long time. I don't really have the money to trade them both in for pick-up trucks. We would lose a crazy amount of money.


Does anyone know if winter studded tires and driving slowly would be enough in Ketchikan with FWD cars? Or is this a make-or-break, either trade in the cars for 4WD, or don't bother taking the job?
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:48 PM
 
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You could get by with studs. Just avoid moving to a place on the top of a steep hill. Ketchikan does have a lot of hills and narrow roads, but the main drags are fairly level.

I've seen entire winters there where it doesn't get below freezing, and other winters where it's been a frigid hellscape for months. The problem with driving there is that when snow hits, it's usually not the light, dry snow of the interior -- it's heavy wet stuff that melts, freezes, melts, freezes, gets rained on, freezes. Heavy rainfall also creates a risk of hydroplaning.
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Old 05-02-2018, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
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Lots of people use front wheel drive vehicles in Ketchikan during the winter. Studded or a winter tire like a Blizzak. If it still worries you look for housing a bit out of town on the North or South Tongass Highway. Bear Valley by the Rec Center also a good housing area without the hills. They close Shoenbar Hill during icy weather. That just means you have to drive through downtown to get to the hospital.
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Old 05-02-2018, 07:53 PM
 
17 posts, read 11,673 times
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Awesome! Thanks for the information guys. Avoid hills, studded/winter tires. Are studded tires a separate set of tires that you change out with your regular tires, or do they attach studs to your existing tires? I've seen YouTube videos of mechanics attaching studs to tires. But I know you have to remove them in the spring. If you attach studs then pull them back out year after year, doesn't that tear up your tires? Thanks!
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
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Your studded tires would be a separate set of tires.
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Old 05-02-2018, 11:31 PM
 
Location: Alexander Archipelago
2,803 posts, read 1,496,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Messerschmitts View Post
I am considering a job in Ketchikan (with the hospital). I currently live in sunny (but expensive) California. I've been told that Ketchikan has very steep roads that get very slippery/snowy/icy in the winter..
Very rarely do these conditions exist. Ketchikan is quite warm by Alaska standards-and wet. 150 plus inches of rain per year. I wouldn't bother getting winter tires at all there if you're not on one of the steep hills.

Your name would fit well with Juneau. A building there still exists sporting the Messerschmidt name, built some time in the 1940's. They were bakers for a couple generations.
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