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Highway Misadventures!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

One of the most frustrating things about skiing is getting caught in a mountain pass traffic snarl!  


Last night my buddy and I tried to go do some night skiing.  We got off work early, met at his house and hit the road in time to beat the worst of the traffic.  There was a freak late March storm in progress with 8" of new snow on the ground.  Everything was going great until we saw the electronic signboard on Interstate 90 saying the pass was closed.  A bunch of cars and trucks had spun out on the approach to the pass - WSDOT estimated traffic would not re-start until 8:30.  We did the math: traffic starts at 8:30.  Traffic clears up by 9:00.   We get to the parking lot by 9:30.  The lights go out and the lift stops at 10:00.  


We turned around.  This morning I heard that the traffic didn't get going until 11:00!!!


So, what are your stories about sitting in traffic while you know the snow is piling up on the mountain?

post #2 of 10

Last night the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70 was closed due to a late spring ice storm.


A few years ago me and a buddy were trying to get to Alta. As we sat there in Little Cottonwood Cyn we could hear the avalanche control and see the snow clouds from the explosives. .. and we sat there.. and sat there... and sat. Finally we said screw it and went to Park City and had a great time. Part of me still thinks it might have been a killer powder day at Alta.

Edited by asp125 - 3/22/13 at 2:17pm
post #3 of 10

I've witnessed 3 accidents in the past 2 ski days.

post #4 of 10

2 Sides to every story.  March 73 (?) Little Cottonwood was shut down for 2 days, and did not open till afternoon of the third.  

That third day made being stuck in Cliffs Lodge for two days so worth it.  Did not mind a bit and beat the heck out of classes at U of U.  

So it is all in the perspective; are you looking up, or down?

post #5 of 10

Back in high school, I often used to borrow mom or dad's car and drive to the ski hill when the school buses were cancelled and school was closed.  One day I drove 55 miles on a  scary (the way I drove back then)  twisty-turny up and down (road frequently disappearing out of site beyond/under  the car's hood) road, only to find the ski hill was closed too.redface.gif


Closest I've come to a highway misadventure was bouncing off a snow bank on that same road on another day  (no appearant damage to the old beater).

post #6 of 10

My entry from The Edge of Never contest..



Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Here's a nominal entry for me:

When I was younger and more foolish.  I remember getting a bigtime pass from a Colorado State Trooper on spring break time.  Late for our motel reservation and going at least 75 in a 55 down a winding, two lane mountain highway.  Just outside of Durango, and we were flying (pun intended).  Radar detector starts screaming, we see a Mustang trooper car pass on the double lane, lock it up and spin a 180 in hot pursuit of US.   I'll never forget sweating bullets and trying to cover a back seat littered with beer cans (and other things) as he was walking up to the car.  He shined the flashlight around the car and snickered saying "you boys on your spring break"?  "Yes sir" was our reply.  "I got you for 70 in a 55. That's a 25$ fine and you have to pay it by mail within 30 days.  Are you going to be able to do that for us?"  "Yes sir" was our reply again.We could have/should have easily been tossed in jail  but instead was sent off with a $25.00 ticket I had 30 days to pay by mail.
We managed to stay our of trouble (by pure luck alone) for the rest of the trip  That is my "Edge of Never" story and I'm sticking to it.  "Yes Sir!"

post #7 of 10

Personal worst is 5 hours from squaw valley to donner lake--about 12 miles.  But I was lucky. by the next day traffic was stopped completely and people had to camp in their cars.

One of these days folks will get smart and traffic going over donner pass will be held at lake tahoe and the ski areas when 80 is closed--people would be a lot better off staying where there is food, heat, and toilets than parked on the road. 

post #8 of 10

Driving from Durham to gathering at Timberline/Davis with the kid last year the GPS took us through actual farm country roads, stuff not even paved and one lane wide at points.  This was also in the middle of nowhere.  There was a period of over an hour where we didn't even see a convenience store.  When we finally came upon a gas station, down under 1/8th of a tank they had a power failure at their pumps and sent us up the road two more miles to another one.  Crisis averted, with a full tank we then headed in to the mountains as the snow started falling.  Two more hours of switchbacks in driving snow.  I was very glad I had just put new tires on the Subie that morning. We made it there around 9 pm but the kid was pretty car sick by that time.

post #9 of 10

My last trip to Snowshoe, WV resulted in a hit and run with the van being declared a total loss by the insurance company.  I was heading up the mountain in snowstorm conditions, and an SUV was coming down the mountain at 50 mph or so.  The SUV lost control,  went left of center, clipped front passenger side of the our van, went in the ditch, bounced out of the ditch, hesitated a few seconds, and then sped away.

I have also had many sketchy trips to Canaan Valley, WV, with Semis off the road or unable to climb hills, but I always made it through those without getting caught up in the carnage.  I probably was due for what happened at SS. 


I attached a pic of the SS hit and run shortly after it happened and a pic showing the damage the next day.  So, if anyone is aware of a whitish, big SUV with some blue paint on it's bumper in the SS area, let me know ...




post #10 of 10

In either December 1973 or January '74 I spent a week or so at Stevens Pass ski patrolling.  It snowed the entire week very hard.  On the last day that I was scheduled to be there I had a gig with my band in Bellingham and intended to ski the day and then drive back in time for downbeat.  When I left the patrol building and went to the overnight parking lot I couldn't find my car for quite a while.  I had forgotten exactly where it was and all of the cars were big snow hills, you couldn't see which car was which.  Since mine was a VW Beetle it looked like at least 25% of the other cars in the lot when completely covered with snow.  After a search that took quite a while I finally found the car, got into the trunk (not an easy task), pulled out my emergency shovel, and dug a ditch to the highway so that I could get out.  Whew! On the road at last.


I pulled out of the parking lot, turned onto the highway, and traveled less than 1/4 mile when traffic came to a stop.  They had just closed the pass for avalanche work.  So I sat, and sat, and sat, looking at my watch and slowly getting an ulcer.  I had left the patrol building with plenty of time to drive home, shower, get my axe, and get to the gig.  Now it was looking dicey.  Finally, they let us go but I was now on a very slim margin.  I couldn't lay on the gas to get home faster because this was during the 1973 Arab oil embargo and there was no gas available all the way back to town and I knew that I would be coasting in on fumes even if I drove the speed limit all the way, which I did.


I got to town only a short time before we were to play.  I remember jumping out of the shower in a panic when the phone rang.  It was our band leader and my best friend who was screaming, "Where are you?" which was rather rhetorical since this was the day before cell phones, so he knew exactly where I was.  I yelled back that I was coming as fast as I possibly could and soon dashed out of the house and made it about 5 minutes before we started.  We played for four sets (after skiing all day and driving 120 miles) and I just about couldn't make it home (maybe a mile) because I was so exhausted. 


But the skiing was fantastic and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.


The good old days.

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