The word is out. Tahoe has snow, and lots of it. So you may be planning a ski weekend.
We're so glad about that! But you should know that a hundred thousand other skiers and boarders have the same idea. So here are two simple things that will make the difference between a great vacation break and a frustrating struggle dealing with traffic.
1. If there is any possible chance of controlling when you come and go, do not plan to arrive on Friday afternoon or evening, and do not plan on leaving during mid-day on Sunday (or Monday, if it is a three-day weekend like Presidents Weekend in February). Whatever it takes to adjust your schedule will pay you a hundred times over in lack of traffic frustration. I strongly recommend coming up Thursday night and leaving Monday morning instead (or leaving on Tuesday morning if you visit on Presidents Weekend).
2. If it is snowing, don't try to Google-map your way around the highways and chain-up areas. Locals have been trading stories of the masses of cars on the back roads that have spun out and slid into ditches all because they were trying to avoid the main highways and instead found themselves on hills that are undriveable in major snow. Most of us locals have 4-wheel-drive, and we don't even go on those roads during storms. Last week, hundreds of people spent huge amounts of time in ditches while the cops tried without luck to unsnarl masses of traffic that couldn't move because the back roads were covered in wet black ice and cars were scattered in all directions like a hundred toys some kid had kicked across the room. If you stay on the highway, at least you have the benefit of graders and rotary plows and dump trucks spreading sand.