Using Snow Chains

Why do I need chains?

By law, in the official ski season, all vehicles have to carry chains when going to Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. This means that you will be prepared if icy conditions eventuate. The law applies whether you have a normal car or a 4-wheel drive, and even if the weather is clear and sunny with no recent snow.

What sort of chains do I need?

Chains go over your tyres to bite into an icy surface to help prevent the tyres from slipping.

In icy conditions, diamond pattern chains are the safest. They are designed so that there is always some chain contacting the road. Diamond pattern chains are recommended if the road is icy, or snow and ice are likely during your stay. Diamond pattern chains are mandatory at Mt Hotham.

Ladder chains have "rungs" across the tyre surface. In between the "rungs" the tyre contacts the road with no chain in between. Ladder chains are a little cheaper and are often preferred when the chance of actually fitting them is quite low.

You need to know your tyre size when hiring chains. This is written on the side-wall of your tyre, eg 205/70R15.

How do I know when to put chains on?

On the road to Falls Creek, most days chains are not required. Watch for signs that say Fit Chains Here. If you see one, or if you feel any slipping of your wheels then it is time to put on chains.

There are a number of chain fitting bays where you can pull right off the road to put chains on. If you need to put chains on and there is no bay in the immediate vicinity, drive carefully till you can stop where you can be seen, and passed, by other traffic.

You should also put on chains if you come to a long line of people putting on chains or if police or mountain staff direct you to.

Sometimes the Fit Chains sign also says Engaged 4WD Excepted. If you have a 4WD and you are confident driving in snow and ice, then you can choose not to put them on but you must be in 4WD or all-wheel drive mode.

Be aware that smaller 4WDs are not as heavy as big ones and may be more inclined to slip. If the road is covered in hard packed snow and ice it is still a good idea to fit chains to small 4WDs and all-wheel drives.

When do I take chains off?

Before coming down the hill, if the road is clear, and there are no signs to the contrary, take chains off.
If in doubt, ask a parking attendant whether they are still needed.
If you need chains to come down, leave them on until the road is mostly clear. Driving on a clear road with chains on can damage tyres, chains and the road.

How do I put diamond pattern chains on?

How do I put ladder chains on?

Ladder Chains

How do I put ladder chains on?

Rocky Valley staff will show you how to put the chains on your car. The information that follows is just to give you a general idea of what is involved.

It is very important that you put the chains on the correct tyres: front for front-wheel drive, back for rear-wheel drive. If you have a 4WD or all-wheel drive car, check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. It may be front, rear or all depending on the design of your specific vehicle.

The steps involved in putting on ladder chains are

  1. Park where it is safe. It is a good idea to put a groundsheet or other protection on the ground to keep you clean and dry.
  2. Hold the inside loop (with the smaller hook) with both hands and fit it over the tyre.
  3. Drive forward or back into a position where you can do up the inside hook and link.
  4. Do up the outside as tight as reasonably possible.
  5. Drive 10-15 metres and re-tighten (usually only needed on the outside)
  6. Don't forget to tuck in loose links

To take off ladder chains

  1. Undo the outside first
  2. Undo the inside
  3. Pull the chains over the tyre (to the outside)
  4. Lay the chains flat on the ground
  5. Drive a metre to clear the chains
  6. Pack the chains away.


 Rocky Valley staff will demonstrate and answer any questions when you hire chains.

Diamond Chains

How do I put diamond pattern chains on?

Rocky Valley staff will show you how to put the chains on your car. The information that follows is just to give you a general idea of what is involved.

It is very important that you put the chains on the correct tyres: front for front-wheel drive, back for rear-wheel drive. If you have a 4WD or all-wheel drive car, check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. It may be front, rear or all depending on the design of your specific vehicle.

The steps involved in putting on diamond chains are

  1. Park where it is safe. It is a good idea to put a groundsheet or other protection on the ground to keep you clean and dry.
  2. Remove chains from bag. Unhook the fexible hoop and make spread the chains out on the road. Ensure all connections are undone and there are no twists or tangles in the chains; this step is important for ease of fitting.
  3. Pass the yellow end of the flexible cable around the back of the tyre, from right to left. Try to prevent the chains getting caught between the tyre and the road.
  4. Pick up the ends of the flexible cable and join them together on top of the tyre. Try to keep the chain links on your side of the cable so they do not drop behind the back of the wheel.
  5. Connect the side chain and the red hook together on the front top of the wheel.
  6. Make sure to push the flexible cable right over the back of the tyre wall and off the tyre tread.
  7. Connect the tension chain with rubber hook to the auto locking lever at the bottom of the wheel and tighten firmly. Check the flexible cable is running evenly around the inside wall of the tyre and is clear of any suspension components.
  8. Using both hands rasp the spring assemblies and wiggle them backwards and forwards to bed the chains arond the tyre, re-tighten and take up the extra slack with the auto locking lever. (If there is not enough tension chain left for re-tightening, go back to step 5 and connect the 2nd or 3rd link of the side chain onto the red hook at the front op of the wheel.)
  9. Check the side chain is running evenly arond the sidewall of the tyre of the tyre, this ensures the flexible cable on the inside of the tyre is doinf the same. Pass the rubber hook through one or both side chain loops and then secure firmly to the side chain opposite.
  10. Once these steps have been completed and the chains are evenly and firmly fitted to each of the drive wheels, drive forward slowly for 20 metres to bed the chains in, then retighten firmly using the auto locking lever and rubber hook.

To take off diamond chains

  1. Stop the car so that each wheel is in the same position as when the chains were fitted, with the autolock lever at the bottom of the wheel, then reverse the steps for putting chains on
  2. When you have disconnected the chain off the tyre make sure it is laying flat on the road, then drive forward to clear the chains.
  3. Pack the chains away in their bag.


But Rocky Valley staff will demonstrate and explain when you hire chains.

Trading Hours

SNOW SEASON HOURS

Open 7 days a week

6th June - 26th June   -    8.00am - 6.00pm

June weekends - 7am - 7pm

27th June - End September    -   7.00am - 7.00pm

FRIDAY NIGHTS OPEN TILL LATE.

 

SUMMER HOURS

Mon - Fri     9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday     9.00am - 1.00 pm

Closed  Sunday

Summer School holidays open 7 days - 9.00 am - 5.30 pm

 

Finding Rocky Valley

shop front sml

Rocky Valley Ski Hire and Bikes is located in Mt Beauty which is the entrance to Falls Creek Ski Resort and the Victorian High Plains.

We are on the left as you enter Mt Beauty just below Falls Creek. You will find us in between the Mt Beauty Holiday Centre (caravan park) and Settlers Tavern.

see where on this Map