We have a short steep hill leading up to our house. It's too steep to be plowed but folks on the street take turns graveling it. Gravel is not enough, though, especially this winter. A continuous cycle of warm and freezing has resulted in a diamond-hard 3-inch thick layer of the slickest ice I've ever trod upon.
Of the six houses on our street, we are the only ones without 4-wheel drive and the only one who regularly get stuck. We use chains on our tires sometimes to get up the hill, but there's no ice on any of the main roads and the chains get broken driving on asphalt. So, we either break chains, put the chains on and off, or park at the bottom of the hill.
Friday and Saturday we got stuck on the hill both days. A crowd of neighbors came out to help push, pull, and eventually hook up a tow line to rescue us. Saturday we said "that's it, we're buying a 4-wheel drive car tomorrow." And we did!
There were many to choose from on finn.no (Norway's online private market site, totally awesome). I made several calls and we drove out of town 30 minutes to look at one that looked great and was inexpensive. We bought it on the spot.
It's a 1988 Toyota Corolla 1.6 XLI, 5 seat station wagon (red) with full time 4-wheel drive, sun roof, light rack on top (good for avoiding moose in the country), and brand new studded tires. It's got a tiny engine but it climbs up slick roads no problem. And we got it for 15000 nok (about $2500) which is about the least you can get a functioning car for in Norway. Our last car cost 12000 nok, and we've been driving it for 2.5 years. I hope we get as lucky with our new red one.
We're finally ready for the rest of winter!