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Chains? Sacramento to Tahoe


bjvircks
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I'm arriving Sacramento FEB 3 and maybe drive rental car/suv to Heavenly. What are the laws and recommendations regarding chains. I'm trying to do this trip on the cheap... are there shuttles available from/to airport which might save the cost of renting?

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Howdy!

I recall seeing a guy, chasing him down at Heavenly and chatting a bit laying in the snow. Was that you? Much of that trip was memorable!!! I also met Jim (Farr) at Kirkwood. Most excellent time that whole week. Almost died at Squaw when one of our group (all skiers) ran across the tips of my skis. This led to my 'chainsaw' thread. On this trip we had 30 people... 15 got sick. I was one of them, but still was on a board or skis every day.

Because of availability of lowest miles frequent flier seat availability we end up flying into Sacramento's SMF. Girlfriend and I will be on our own this trip. From what I've found so far... R/T shuttle from Reno (06-07 prices) $43/person. I'd imagine from SMF around $80/person R/T if even available. Might have to rent small SUV.

So if I rent a 4x4 chains would not be required by law?

Just bought lift tickets for Heavenly this AM... works out to $66/day. May hit Kirkwood and/or Squaw also.

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Guest kennyusmc

One thing if you are 4x4 or AWD driving in a chain control area and you are not carrying chains you can be cited. I have never seen Highway 80 go into R3 they usually close the road.

From CALTRANS ( CA DOT)

Types of Chain Controls:

During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California. When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.

Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.

Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.

(NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

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If you have 4x4 you won't need chains. My suggestion is to make two rental reservations. One with one company for a car and the other with another for a 4x4. Then just look at the weather report when you arrive. If there's no snow in the forecast for the duration of your trip, you should be fine with the car (usually a whole lot cheaper).

Technically the law says you may need chains with 4x4, but in practice you never do.

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Guest kennyusmc

you might not need chains, but here is the deal if inside a chain control area and you get stuck (or they may even pull you over on the off ramp) CHP loves to rub salt into the wound by ticketing you for not having chains in a chain control area. Will you need them ? Most likely no, a lot of rental agencies have chains if you ask for them. And last Tahoe weather is upredictable and up canyon upslope up canyon winds quickly change to down slope down canyon can cause a storm when nobody expects it. Rent a Subby.

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how in the world did 15 of your 30 get sick? altitude?
It started quietly and picked up momentum as the trip wore on... One guy was feeling poorly and then started throwing up. A day or so later he was having trouble at the other end. It must have been some sort of flu bug we brought along with us. Mid-way thru the trip I got it as well. I was fortunate in that my bad times happened at night while back at the condo.

When I was at Kirkwood with Jim Farr demo'ing Prior boards I had no idea I had caught the bug. I was really weak and riding so very poorly, but just figured I sucked more than usual that day.

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Rent a SUV or AWD vehicle and stop worrying. I've never had a problem with chain control areas with my Explorer. Hell, I used to get through with my Ranger that 'looked' 4wd. Getting to Tahoe isn't hard even if the weather isn't good, BUT, if you want to go to Kirkwood, that's another story.You will need some sort of traction control when all the other roads are clear if it has snowed in the last 3 days. Hey, Hit me with an email when the time is near and maybe we can hook up. Be cool to ride together. Do you have lodging yet? May be able to help. SJ

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SJ... I probably will rent a small 4wd. Years ago when I lived out in Southern California near Riverside I had a Bronco II with agressive tires AND chains on all four sometimes. I grew up on the vast empty plains of South Dakota. Learned to be prepaired. Is highway 50 pretty decent during the winter? When our club was heading to the airport 2 years ago our bus had to stop and chain up.

I'll be certain to post when the time gets near. My girlfriend ride softboots and will be bringing her board.

Lodging is set. Thanks for the thought.

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Guest kennyusmc

Ok I work for the Forest Service so I drive several of these highways regularly , highway 88 the highway of death, now that they installed more east and west bound passing lanes it is only going to get worse. ** closes usually at Carson pass and Carson spur, due to winds ( +100 mph) and avalance control, rarely for snow they have a nice CALTRANS work station up at peddler hill and those guys seem to keep the snow off the road. If you get stuck on the east side of the pass you can do two things go eat to carson city and up to 395 and over to Reno and back down highway 80. If highway 50 is open you can often get to kirkwood via 89.

Highway 80 on the north side stays open most of the time unless you get a Donner storm, or an out of state trucker who closes the road when he jack knifes his rig.

Highway 50 is for south lake, and the road can get pretty bad. The road closes usually right before you get to sierra at tahoe, at three locations kyburz, strawberry or twin bridges. Basically when you are almost all the way up. Next it is a two lane road with a lot of accidents. It also closes for rock and mudlslides and CALTRANS usually gets the road open pretty quick. It closes much more often than 80 for north lake.

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It started quietly and picked up momentum as the trip wore on... One guy was feeling poorly and then started throwing up. A day or so later he was having trouble at the other end. It must have been some sort of flu bug we brought along with us. Mid-way thru the trip I got it as well. I was fortunate in that my bad times happened at night while back at the condo.

When I was at Kirkwood with Jim Farr demo'ing Prior boards I had no idea I had caught the bug. I was really weak and riding so very poorly, but just figured I sucked more than usual that day.

No wonder you burned out so quickly. I came down with a viral case of vertigo (not sure what the Doc meant) about 14 yrs ago at Mt Baker with my semi-pro nephew. Lasted off/on the whole season.

You've gotten great advice on the Tahoe area. I have argued my way up Hwy 88 in a 4x4 without a set of chains before. It was deep even with the snowplows running, and not much wind in R2 conditions, but we made it easily. The best pow in Tahoe is during heavy snowfall and low wind. Chains stay in the bed of my Silverado all winter since then. Hwy 88 is better than 50 by a longshot...if you don't include Carson Spur. Our truck was blown sideways about 2ft while stopped in whiteout conditions about a mile below the Carson Spur in '05. My 20 yr old son said,"What the f--k!!!" , and I said don't worry, it's blowing us toward the hillside instead of the other way around. It took about 30 minutes to go 4 miles that afternoon. Hwy 88 is a cruise on carving days.

Sincures angle of reserving 2 separate cars is the call.

:angryfire Maaaaan...right now Meyers is having a 100 year fire. Over 200 homes have burned and it is only 15% contained. To bad, it is a great location along Hwy 89 going to Kirkwood from 50.

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No wonder you burned out so quickly.
Yep... I was sick. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Anybody got any suggestions about a place for cheap car rentals at Sacramento? At other places in the past I've found good deals at 'off-airport', 'not brand-name'. I'm doing this trip on the cheap, considering midsize car with chains vs small 4x4 suv. So far my googling isn't yeilding much for alternatives beyond brand-name agencies.

EDIT: a couple of years ago I came across 'Rugged Rental' in Salt Lake City (www.ruggedrental.com). They are off airport but convenient, good shuttle. Got good rate on a BIG suv!! :biggthump

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I don't think you said where you are staying. Which road you take will depend on which side of the lake you're going to. 80 to North Shore, 50 to South Shore. In less than perfect weather I would take 50 over 88 anyday. Actually, when it's snowing I prefer 50 over 80. It's only 2 lanes, but no TRUCKS! 80 is an interstate, lots of truck traffic.

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I don't think you said where you are staying. Which road you take will depend on which side of the lake you're going to. 80 to North Shore, 50 to South Shore. In less than perfect weather I would take 50 over 88 anyday. Actually, when it's snowing I prefer 50 over 80. It's only 2 lanes, but no TRUCKS! 80 is an interstate, lots of truck traffic.

Yeah, Hwy 80 sandblasted my new windshield in one trip. Seventy plus mph and 3 lanes wide, tractor trailers a plenty. I'll be back on 80 this season to Mt Rose instead of 88 to Kirkwood. Hwy 88 was tough until I got all the icey curves are memorized.

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