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Tahoe today, Mar 24 - How to get to Kings Beach?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will be leaving from Santa Maria, CA (Central Coast) today at 1:00pm.  Looks like the weather is getting bad.  I have reservations at the Cal Neva and plan on skiing Diamond Peak, Homewood and Northstar Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.


Right now Caltrans shows I-80 as:



The Homewood road conditions map shows I-80 on a hold/closed before Truckee, but 267 has no chains requirements:




I have never been to Tahoe before.  Google driving directions has us going up I-5 through Sacramento and over on I-80 for a roughly 7 hour and 30 minute drive.  This will have us getting to Truckee at about 8:00pm without traffic.


Is there an alternate route around Donner Pass?  Kings Beach is calling for 6-10 inches tonight.  Should we just stay in Auburn and drive the remaining hour and half on Friday.


Excited about the snow, nervous about getting there ...  Please advise!


(I have a front-wheel-drive Mazda3 hatchback and snow chains).



post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Everyone must be out skiing :-) ...


Update from Caltrans:


I 80 


SR 267  

Weather.com has reduced Today's accumlation from 6-10 inches to 5-8in, but holds Tonight at 6-10in.


If anyone has any advice, please let me know!



post #3 of 8

Some resources:







The chain requirement is pretty common and nothing to worry too much about.  It goes along with the snow.  That said, it looks like westbound 80 is closed right now due to visibility concerns.  I can't tell you that eastbound won't meet the same fate soon.  You've got a long drive.  Much could change on the way.  If you're cautious, stay home.  If not, book a room in Auburn and hit the road.  You can call 1-800-TELL-CHP for conditions from the road.  Cancel the room if you don't need it.


You can also take 50 to south lake and get on 89, but those are smaller roads and you could get stuck there, too.  I haven't done this enough to criticize or recommend.

post #4 of 8

50's a good road for getting to South Lake (rarely closed for avalanche control, and a divided highway almost all the way to the crest), but not North Lake.  89 is closed north of 50, so you'd have to go all the way to the Nevada side of the Lake and up and around that way...that's a LOT of extra driving.


Chains on 80 isn't a huge deal (as long as you're comfortable driving in snow), but the latest forecasts I've seen indicate that the worst winds will be hitting the Sierra late this afternoon-evening - and 80 tends to get shut down for poor visibility.  I'd get a room in Auburn as a back-up and be ready to bunker down there overnight.  As far as I know there isn't an alternate route over Donner Pass that won't also be shut down if 80 is as well.


Finally, I doubt Google's driving times are taking the weather/chain controls into account.  Auburn to the pass is an hour without traffic and weather.  You'll have both.  Stay safe if you head out today, its going to be long and slow.

Edited by no2haven - 3/24/11 at 12:36pm
post #5 of 8

If you do decide to get thru and not to stay in Auburn go US 50 thru South Lake Tahoe then 28 around the lake to Kings Beach. It will add about 1.5-2hrs of drive compared to going on I-80. But it is almost guaranteed that I-80 will be shutdown altogether today/tonight, while US50 most likely will be open.


BTW, it is not guaranteed either that that they will re-open I-80 Fri morning....


Good luck! If you make it thru and at Northstar Sun we can share some runs...





post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 



Got a room in Roseville.  Thanks for the updates and replies.  Hopefully we can make it through on 80 Friday morning.

post #7 of 8

What a mess!

Looks like 80 was closed most of Friday as well - when did you finally make it?



post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, I ended up taking 50 and 28 through south lake .. the chain controls were lifted.  It took 4 hours from Roseville.  Didn't ski today (Friday), but plan to hit Diamond Peak Saturday and N* Sunday.

On the Cal Neva... It is definitely dated and in need of repair and restoration, but the history here is very cool.  Take the tour!  If you are in to the Rat Pack, Sinatra, Marlyn Monroe, JFK, Dean Martin,  Mobsters, prohibition, secret tunnels, ghosts ... Take the tour!  Totally made up for the run down condition of the hotel (for me anyway).  Plus I used the Tahoe card from snowbomb.com for 20% off here.

I will write a full trip report in my other thread asking for resorts for a 3/4 skier.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Tahoe today, Mar 24 - How to get to Kings Beach?