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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-26-2011, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Tahoe area advice

Planning a Tahoe trip for the weekend of December 2nd. A couple questions:
  • Is it too early in the season to make it worth it? Will the snow be decent?
  • Someone mentioned I should rent an AWD vehicle or there's a chance they won't let me up into the passes to get to the resorts. Should I make sure I rent an AWD, or will any SUV type vehicle do? Don't wanna get all the way there and not be able to get to the resorts.

I will have two full days of riding. My idea is to hit Squaw for one day, then maybe a local place the other day, maybe Homewood or Diamond Peak. What do you guys think?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:03 PM
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[QUOTE=philadendron;429296]
Thats a little early, and the resorts will have just opened up. The past couple of years they have had anywhere from 30 to 120 inches of total snowfall by Dec 3rd. Check out the Snowfall tracker.


Homewood is supposed to be beautiful, so worth checking it out...if there is snow.

Chain Control does happen during storms and they will check, turn you away, or ticket you in Chain control areas. I've gone with and without AWD.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thank, the snow tracker will be a useful tool. If you have a 4x4 but no chains, will they let you up, or do you have to have chains?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:21 PM
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Mt. Rose would be in better shape and more preferable to Diamond Peak if there's snow IMO.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:22 PM
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90% of the time you can get through with a 4wd. I believe there are conditions that CalTrans requires you to have 4wd/Awd and snow tires or chains. Then there is R5 which means you have to have AWD/4WD and chains. If they are letting you through with R5 conditions, it's not really worth it and the roads are going to close shortly anyway. Usually they close before that, but maybe 2-3 times a decade they'll let you through on that. True white knuckle driving no matter what you are in.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:22 PM
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I think it depends on the road and the conditions. I've seen "Chains or Snow Tires" (i.e. no 4wd required) and I've seen "Chains or 4WD" (no chains required on 4wd). I do believe there is a higher restriction of chains on all vehicles, but I don't know how often that is used.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by neednsnow View Post
I think it depends on the road and the conditions. I've seen "Chains or Snow Tires" (i.e. no 4wd required) and I've seen "Chains or 4WD" (no chains required on 4wd). I do believe there is a higher restriction of chains on all vehicles, but I don't know how often that is used.
Only with R5 conditions. Chains and 4WD required. It's not used very often. They are more likely to close the road, but on rare occasion they go with roads being open under R5.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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So you guys think I should rent an SUV since maybe there's a better chance it'll have snow tires at least on it, or would anything I rent in the Reno area have snow tires?
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 03:13 PM
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I'm not sure if they put snow tires on any of the rental fleets. You'll have to ask them. If you can't get a vehicle with snow tires, try to get a 4WD or AWD model.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-27-2011, 03:13 PM
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If there is any snow in the forecast for the days you'll be driving, I would def. go with a 4wd SUV. 95% of the time the chain control sign reads "Chains Required - 4x4 w/ Snow Tires ok". Basically if you are driving a 4x4 the guy will shine a flashlight on your tires and as long as they have tread, they will let you through. However, Mt. Rose Highway (which is what you will take from Reno if you are going to the North Shore) may have tighter restrictions from time to time if it is really dumping. I think that would be a rare scenario, especially for early Dec.

Here is a good site for Tahoe weather forecasts: Tahoe Weather Discussion - No Hype Lake Tahoe Weather. This guy is pretty accurate, and unfortunately right now he is predicting a late start for the winter, an early finish, but a good bit of snow Jan-Mar.
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