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Road conditions between Truckee and Squaw/Alpine Meadows

lljc00

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Does any one know how reliable the road between Truckee and Squaw or Alpine Meadows is like? If it's snowing (more than the plows can keep up with) and gets icy, are there a lot off accidents? It doesn't look like it has much incline (save for the last mile to the resorts).

I have a place booked in Truckee in February, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to move down to Tahoe City. I get quite tense driving in snow and ice, plus I don't want to sit in 2 hour traffic. That happened along the 80 when we went before Christmas getting between Truckee and the summit for Soda Springs/Sugar Bowl (chain control on the incline near Donner Lake). I'm worried that it might dump with El Nino, and Feb is too far away to predict on a day by day basis.

Thanks!
 

DeweySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
Though I spend more time in South Lake than North Lake, I would think that it doesn't matter if you are in Truckee or Tahoe City. If the roads are bad, they are both going to be bad. CA does occasionally close roads if they are terrible and people are getting into a lot of accidents. My partner got stranded at Kirkwood the Monday before Christmas when 88 was shut for something insane like 8 hours. He even tried to leave early at 2 p.m. @santacruz skier and @SnowHot may know more, as they ski up that way... There are other Tahoe Divas that can help hopefully... @laine @CMCM @DRG @merrydog @novium
 

merrydog

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
The road is plowed fairly often but if there is a big storm it will still be covered with compact snow and ice even after the plow goes by. Truckee vs. Tahoe City is no different driving wise and will get lots of skier traffic especially on the weekends. If you are not comfortable driving, the safest bet is to stay in Squaw village. Prices are higher but you avoid the drive and the resort runs a shuttle between Squaw and Alpine.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
The road is plowed fairly often but if there is a big storm it will still be covered with compact snow and ice even after the plow goes by. Truckee vs. Tahoe City is no different driving wise and will get lots of skier traffic especially on the weekends. If you are not comfortable driving, the safest bet is to stay in Squaw village. Prices are higher but you avoid the drive and the resort runs a shuttle between Squaw and Alpine.
Yep. 6 in one, half dozen the other between staying in Truckee vs. Tahoe City.
On that note, have fun! I do love that area and miss it. Got married in Tahoe City!
 
#6
Tend to agree with posts.... Also staying at Squaw is a good option and you won't have to worry. Pretty sure there are shuttles in Tahoe City and Truckee but you should check.
 

laine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I have a house in Truckee for the season and we were up this past weekend (Thu-Sun). The snow was amazing, but the traffic, not so much. We skied Alpine on Friday (no traffic from Truckee on a weekday), and opted for Sugar Bowl on Saturday, which was an easy drive on the backroads to the Judah lodge. We went to Squaw on Sunday, and made the mistake of leaving the house at 8:30am. We sat in a ton of traffic coming off 80. Generally, I've found the traffic to the mountain from the south - Tahoe City - towards the mountain is better than the traffic from the north - Truckee. (I owned a house in Tahoma, by Homewood, for 5 years.)

However, staying in Truckee, it's much easier for me to get back to the house to drop stuff off/hang out before heading back to Oakland. And for the drive up - it's a 30 minute shorter drive to Truckee.

(I know, this didn't help at all. But the snow was fantastic!!!)
:ski:
 

SnowHot

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
@SnowHot.....since she lives there!!
Thanks for the call out @Jilly. I have to check my notifications because I missed it.

Does any one know how reliable the road between Truckee and Squaw or Alpine Meadows is like? If it's snowing (more than the plows can keep up with) and gets icy, are there a lot off accidents? It doesn't look like it has much incline (save for the last mile to the resorts).

I have a place booked in Truckee in February, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to move down to Tahoe City. I get quite tense driving in snow and ice, plus I don't want to sit in 2 hour traffic. That happened along the 80 when we went before Christmas getting between Truckee and the summit for Soda Springs/Sugar Bowl (chain control on the incline near Donner Lake). I'm worried that it might dump with El Nino, and Feb is too far away to predict on a day by day basis.

Thanks!
The harsh reality is that 89 is brutal to navigate if its a storm day, not because the road is bad but because the traffic to/from Squaw on a storm day is insane.
I've heard that its not as bad coming from Tahoe City, but I have no first hand experience with it.

When I head to Squaw or Alpine on a storm day, I get up extra early and beat the traffic, then I have coffee and chill at Wildflour Deli while others are fighting the traffic coming in.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
Thanks for the call out @Jilly. I have to check my notifications because I missed it.


The harsh reality is that 89 is brutal to navigate if its a storm day, not because the road is bad but because the traffic to/from Squaw on a storm day is insane.
I've heard that its not as bad coming from Tahoe City, but I have no first hand experience with it.

When I head to Squaw or Alpine on a storm day, I get up extra early and beat the traffic, then I have coffee and chill at Wildflour Deli while others are fighting the traffic coming in.
This is my tactic when getting to any ski hill on a busy day :becky:
Beat the herd then relax when you arrive, and fuel up for the day. Being an early riser has its definite benefits!
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
89 is slow on a storm day, all the way to the Squaw parking lot. Alpine is a little better. The road is among the best plowed. If unplowed roads are your concern, you may want to check with wherever you are staying to see how quickly the local roads get plowed. I think the more relevant concern is going to be getting into/out of your neighborhood during a storm.

Btw, Alpine got clobbered during the last strong El Niño in 1997/98. :-)
 

lljc00

Certified Ski Diva
#11
Thanks for the input on route 89. How bad is "bad"? From Truckee, are we talking making a no-conditions 20 minute drive into a 2 hr drive, or just more like a 40 min drive?

I decided to keep my booking up in Truckee as I was checking out traffic conditions when there were a few storms in the first week of January, and it never looked like it was making the drive much more than maybe an additional 10 minutes. But this was just google mapping with traffic, checking at key times in the day (9:00, 9:30), no scientific data analysis. The place is literally on Donner Pass in downtown, so I think it'll be easy with plowing (though probably noisy with the plow and the train!)

Anyway, it'll be a learning opportunity. Now that I have a ski family, I need to try out different places to see what works for me.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
On Saturday, I drove from the end of Donner Lake (technically still Truckee) to Squaw at 8:10am. There was minimal weather. I hit traffic about a mile from Squaw and did not park until 9.

On Sunday, again, no weather. I left the house at 7:50. I was in stop and go traffic from the 80 interchange onto 89 all the way to Alpine. It took me 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there.

In no traffic, this is a 20 minute drive. Mind you, this was not due to weather/road conditions (although there was an accident on the Squaw access road on Saturday). This was purely a volume thing because there was a storm early Saturday; Sunday traffic was possibly due to Squaw closing half of its lifts on Saturday midday, so people trying to get untracked turns.
 

laine

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Yeah, traffic has been brutal from Tahoe Donner to Squaw/Alpine. I've heard it's because they're doing a lot of avalanche bombing in the mornings - so they don't let the cars into the lot yet.
 

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