Wow, what a mean-spirited, arrogant letter from B. Graham regarding studded tires. Despite the fact that the author tries to use carefully selected science to refute, even mock other letter-writers' experiences and opinions, I would like to add a few studies and accounts of my own to the debate. I feel that I am well qualified to do so as, prior to moving to Bend 5 winters ago, I lived in the Colorado Mountains at 9,000 feet for 12 years. During our first fall in Bend I was shocked, and amused, to hear the rattling of studded tires down Wall street after one, insignificant, snow storm: I commented to my wife, "Oh my God, look at all of these California weenies!" I had never seen so many studded vehicles (or late-model cars with designer rims...but that's another topic!) Over the course of the next few weeks I proceeded to: 1) Slide down the hill, right out of my driveway, through a stop sign and onto Portland Avenue 2) Coming out of work on Mt. Bachelor Dr. slide through (over, actually) the roundabout at Reed Market 3) slide completely out of control down the hill onto the Bill Healy bridge, careening off of the curbs 4) get hopelessly stuck on relatively flat ground in the parking lot at Tumalo Falls.
I was very experienced at driving in extreme winter conditions and doubt that I was going over 10 mph on any of those occasions. I was driving the same Ford F-150 4x4 that I drove for six years in Colorado. While living in the mountains there I worked for an employer who was based in Denver, often requiring 3-4 trips a month over 12,000 ft Berthoud pass, and during one harrowing stretch, attended graduate school in Denver, necessitating 3-4 trips a week, back and forth at night, for two full winters. In all that time I never once considered getting studded tires, and in fact, did not know anyone else in the mountains who owned studs (or designer rims for that matter); I just put it in four-wheel drive, often left it there for weeks at a time, and threw 300 lbs of sand in the back. Within three months of moving to Bend my wife and I both purchased studded tires.
That's just anecdotal evidence of course, but I will also offer up the following:
"From the standpoint of traction alone, studded tires, when new, often provide some benefit over other tire types on ice-covered roads when the temperature is near freezing."- Washington State Department of Transportation, Oct. 2002.
The simple undeniable facts are that our Cascade snow has much more moisture content than most places and that our low elevation causes almost nightly freeze-thaw cycles during winter. Now if you are like me, and make the trek up Century Drive three to four times a week to go to Bachelor or Meissner or head out to the Coast in winter to surf, all the while getting passed by yahoos going 70 mph (with their rims), any increased measure of control and stopping ability is desired, especially with a toddler in the back. We are going to keep our studs, on our factory rims.
Brian Lantzy, Bend