This is my first season doing a lot of commuting to the mountains and taking riding seriously (been going once a week). I did a night session a couple weeks ago where it started snowing and about 5 inches came down. The manual for my car says the suspension is too low for chains and so I talk with some employees/locals once it started snowing about if I should stick around... After being told by said locals to not worry about getting snowed in or the roads being unsafe unless the snow gets deep enough to where you have trouble walking I decided to wing it and stick it out for the rest of the night. And BOY was it worth it. The roads were icy as F and there was a chain requirement for cars coming up, but there was no chain requirement going down (like the locals said rarely happens) and taking it EXTREMELY slow down seemed to pose no risk. All in all everything turned out great and I would feel safe doing it all over again for sure
Which brings me to my current situation... As some of you may know a nice FAT single day storm is coming through on Tuesday. 4 inches are forecasted during the day with 5 to 9 at night. I DESPERATELY want to shred that night session, but this time I don't know if it's something I can get away with. I seriously don't know anything about how much worse the roads will be this time around vs last time and how much more difficult the increased snowfall is going to make driving the roads safely without chains.
Does anyone familiar with the area have any input? This isn't like coming down from Bear with turn after turn. The road in/out of Mt High is practically a straight line, but I really don't want to get snowed in, or get on the road and find myself freaking out because it's a thousand times worse than last time. So please, anyone with any input please send it my way!
Thanks in advance
EDIT: Here is the forecast for those curious - Tuesday Snow showers. Areas of fog. High near 34. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Tuesday Night Snow showers. Areas of fog. Low around 13. Windy, with a west wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.
As always with weather these things can be unpredictable, the good news is it's not a busy day so worst case scenario you could book a cheap room for the night and wait for the road to get plowed.
My guess is that Mt. High will be easily accessed and departed from during the storm. Big Bear is another beast altogether. The issue is not necessarily the turns but the grade. I remember when a landmark blizzard hit right as we were leaving Big Bear, and the snow started coming down hard, and we were driving down a flat strip of road and cars were spinning out all over the place, we decided to turn around and get a room...the U-Turn and subsequent drive back through car after car losing control on the downhill grade and sliding nearly into us was extremely dangerous. Those roads have cliff drops, and 1 car may not be enough to dent the barriers, but two cars certainly could create a deadly drop.
The moral of the story is simple. If you don't have 4WD or chains, and if you're a typical LA driver who never changes their tires and has to drive 40mpg in light showers or risk skidding, then you should probably reconsider. It's not just for your safety, it is for others safety as well. Especially if you plan on driving back at night.
Also, CHP can and will ticket you for not having chains.
The chain requirement is mainly for the downgrades, where you need to dig into the ice to have any chance of control. Driving uphill, especially if you have momentum, you will not notice the ice, I have made the drive many times and the ice is very subtle on the way up, but shit can get -very- real on the way down.
My advice would be to rent/borrow a car with 4WD, with the forecasted snow and 4WD or tire chains, you will be absolutely fine leaving Mt. High.