Lake Tahoe STORM!

mikesathome

New member
How lucky could I be? I plan a trip to South Lake Tahoe over 2 months ago, the Tahoe area was basically bone dry since the First week of January, and now a very strong snow storm is pounding the area well into Saturday!!
So we fly into Sacramento Thursday Morning, I have a 4x4 SUV BUT I don't think it has snow tires. I see CA DOT is posting:
"CHAINS ARE REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES EXCEPT 4-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES WITH SNOW
TIRES ON ALL 4 WHEELS FROM 4 MI EAST OF PLACERVILLE TO MEYERS (EL DORADO CO)"

We are taking US-50 from SAC, and staying at the casinos in south lake.

So what are my options? Get chains from the rental car place? Or is there places to stop along the way to rent some? As the forecast is calling for snow all the way till Saturday, I am not sure how good the rode will get, and it's a much colder storm, so I don't see any chance of melting.
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
If CALTRANS is anything like UDOT, they consider the tires on most SUVs as snow tires. UDOT doesn't stop my AWD vehicle with all-seasons. I believe that they interpret "snow tires" as "not summer tires."
 

tseeb

Active member
Most rental car places discourage you from putting chains on their vehicles. Caltrans can require you to show chains even with 4WD and snow tires. I have never had to, but if you get stuck and don't have chains, the CHP can ticket you. I realize that is not much help. If snow is predicted, I carry cables with my AWD, but have never needed them on highways.

I'm a couple of miles north of Truckee at about 6000 feet and it started snowing lightly here at 5:15 pm Tues. night. It picked up overnight and there is about 16 inches now. My friend is blowing his 700 foot driveway and was delayed as a shear pin broke, and it was not the usual one. We are planning on Northstar as Squaw put upper mountain on hold.

My AWD is in shop due to my friend getting into a fender-bender leaving Alpine two weeks ago. So I'm driving my son's Corolla and hoping to get out of here Friday afternoon as I have commitments in Bay Area Fri. night and Sat. I have what qualifies as snow tires and new cables, but would prefer not to have to use them.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
That DOT statement is the standard R2 requirement during storms, where all-season tires (they are marked M+S) are acceptable on AWD vehicles. The more severe R3, with chains required on all vehicles, is very rare. I would not worry about it.
 

Aukai

New member
In my experience this is very dependent on the particular caltrans worker/CHP officer you happen to come across. Some will wave an AWD with M+S tires through. Some will stop you and make you show them chains. IMO it's worth it to stop somewhere to buy a set and have them not be needed, rather than getting to the chain control checkpoint and getting turned around to go buy some. I suspect they'll be less lenient about this on the 50 than they would on the 80.

So you could attempt to get through without, but it would be a bit of a gamble. Then again, with the chain control checkpoint currently near Placerville, getting turned around in that particular spot wouldn't be a huge inconvenience.

Also FWIW Pep Boys will (at least they have in the past) allow you to return unused chains, and prices will be reasonable (i.e. no gouging near a chain-control area). Google says there's a location on the 50 in Rancho Cordova.
 

sheahunter

New member
Yahoo, We are landing Friday night in Reno and driving up to Alpine Saturday AM, then Heavenly for 6 days. Does Albertsons still have discount tickets?
 

tseeb

Active member
A good link for ticket prices and discount is http://www.slidingonthecheap.com/prices/

Northstar was charging $90 yesterday. Heavenly is hard to find current pricing.

The supermarket deal in CA is at Lucky's and SaveMart. Most Albertson's were replaced by Lucky's in CA. Ski shops and lodging also can sell discounted tickets.
 

tseeb

Active member
72 hour storm totals Sat. morning

Northstar 85 inches
Mammoth 88
Soda Springs 89
Squaw 97
Kirkwood 103
Sugar Bowl (and Boreal) 104
Homewood 111

and the winner is Alpine Meadows at 122!
 

sheahunter

New member
We hit Alpine Meadows yesterday and Heavenly today. Outstanding conditions to say the least. Loads of light tracked, untracked and loose powder. Crowds have been manageable. Kids are having a blast.
 

rsmith

New member
Ya, Tahoe conditions are currently incredible. Friday was so deep that only the steepest runs were turnable - waist deep at minimum. For Saturday there was a few more feet of very, very light snow overnight that settled nicely on the consolidating previous 5+ feet. Sunday and Monday continued to hold unlimited untracked and slightly chopped blower powder. At least where I was crowds were very light Saturday (I think a lot of people couldn't get out of their driveways), relatively heavy Sunday (in the parking lots but you could still find spots to escape the crowds on the slopes) and again pretty empty on Monday. I did hear of some very large crowds (and road closures) at Kirkwood, though.

Temps have remained cold, and another large, cold storm cycle is coming through for this weekend. I've rarely seen the snow so deep so low in the foothills, and the coming storm is supposed to be even colder (with accumulating snow down to 1500').

I've learned as a Bay Area skier that the single best indicator of excellent conditions in Tahoe is snow in the Diablo or Santa Cruz ranges that surround South and East Bay. If you see even a dusting of snow on Mount Hamilton (4200') it means get to Tahoe ASAP because the powder will be light and cold...
 

flannelman808

New member
I have to tell you guys I called this one... I saw it coming about a month before it happened. WOWaeeWa! I got up there tuesday night on the 15th. It snowed a ton but there were very high winds as well. The only place worth riding/skiing had to have been Homewood (in northlake anyhow). Alpine could only open up roundhouse and they had a line of about 150 ppl waiting for it. Squaw was a joke, and Sugarbowl might have been great (not running lincoln but disney maybe) but in all honesty the road getting there must have been pretty rough/deadly. Homewood however... all lifts except quail and an insane amount of snow at least as much as alpine if not more. Also there were maybe 100 ppl on the entire hill with all lifts running. Virgin tracks for days. Thursday they got another 34 inches and it was the same story everywhere else. In fact alpine closed everything after a slide at noon. Homewood was a dream. Though it was tough to go steep enough and I was wishing at that point that I could have made it to Sugarbowl. Friday a whopping 43 inches of snow... no bs. Unbelievable. Alpine opens everything but the backside. But it was a bit heavier (did I mention that the snow that fell up to this point fell in 20 degree or less weather... cold smoke boys and girls!). By friday I had been spoiled and it was a little more typical of CA snow, though still fairly high quality by sierra standards. All and all the moral of the story here is to get there before the storm, not after...


you should have been here yesterday...
 

EMSC

Active member
flannelman808":34c7ajoo said:
the moral of the story here is to get there before the storm, not after...

you should have been here yesterday...

Absolutely... yet I have to call this out...

flannelman808":34c7ajoo said:
I have to tell you guys I called this one... I saw it coming about a month before it happened.

No way anyone saw the exact timing of these storms a month in advance.
 

Marc_C

Active member
flannelman808":7a11pux4 said:
I have to tell you guys I called this one... I saw it coming about a month before it happened.

Called it where? You certainly didn't mention it here.
 

rsmith

New member
EMSC":1qpl5rzi said:
No way anyone saw the exact timing of these storms a month in advance.

Every report I saw just prior to the storm last weekend called for 3-5' of new snow - nobody had the audacity to forecast it would snow 12' in Kirkwood... The computer models can get a reasonable level of confidence of a coming storm 5 days to a week out, but even then the actual amounts can be drastically off. Calling a storm a month out is a complete crap shoot - might as well use a set of dice.

The coming weekend storm has historic possibility - there's an outside chance for snow near sea-level in San Francisco and San Jose. The last measurable snowfall in San Jose/SF was 35 years ago. I've got a really strong desire to grab the skis and plan on heading for some of the nearby grassy hills to try and get some turns - might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No doubt Tahoe will have excellent conditions.
 
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