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 Post subject: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:30 pm 
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Sesame street
Sesame street

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:28 am
Posts: 3
Hi everyone!

I recenly relocated to LA from the bay area, so naturally I'm also switching from Tahoe to Mammoth. I've skied Mammoth a few times in the past and I'm excited to be a season pass holder for the 2014/2015 season!

I did have questions about chain control in the area and I was hoping that you all could provide me with some insight. I understand the different levels of chain control (i.e., R1, R2, R3) and that even 4WD/AWD vehicles are legally required to carry chains. Having said that, I've never purchased chains because in reality no one is going to ask to see them in Tahoe if you have 4WD/AWD (yes, I know there are exceptions but those are usually because you were pulled over for speeding and the cop wants to stick it to you) and they are going to close the road before putting up an R3 restriciton. I've seen a smattering of related information from seraching old topics and it sounds like things are different in the region around Mammoth. Specifically, my questions are:

1. How often does CalTrans/CHP ask to see your chains? Does this only occur during busy holidays and major storm systems?
2. I saw someone post that CalTrans/CHP will even measure tire tread depth before letting you through chain control. Does that acutally happen? I've never heard of this.
3. It sounds like R3 chain restrictions are used on occassion in the region, but rarely. Is this a once-in-a-blue-moon event or does this happen every year during major storms?

I'm picking up a free pair of chains from a friend later this summer as a security blanket. I'm asking these questions because I'm just curious how the roads are managed in the area. Also, I'd like to avoid spending $50 dollars for chains if I use my pass this spring during a freak snow storm.

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:36 pm 
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Climax
Climax

Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:03 pm
Posts: 2372
Location: 3 Sheets to the Wind and 4 cards to the Flush
ZZski wrote:
Hi everyone!

I recenly relocated to LA from the bay area, so naturally I'm also switching from Tahoe to Mammoth. I've skied Mammoth a few times in the past and I'm excited to be a season pass holder for the 2014/2015 season!

I did have questions about chain control in the area and I was hoping that you all could provide me with some insight. I understand the different levels of chain control (i.e., R1, R2, R3) and that even 4WD/AWD vehicles are legally required to carry chains. Having said that, I've never purchased chains because in reality no one is going to ask to see them in Tahoe if you have 4WD/AWD (yes, I know there are exceptions but those are usually because you were pulled over for speeding and the cop wants to stick it to you) and they are going to close the road before putting up an R3 restriciton. I've seen a smattering of related information from seraching old topics and it sounds like things are different in the region around Mammoth. Specifically, my questions are:

1. How often does CalTrans/CHP ask to see your chains? Does this only occur during busy holidays and major storm systems?
2. I saw someone post that CalTrans/CHP will even measure tire tread depth before letting you through chain control. Does that acutally happen? I've never heard of this.
3. It sounds like R3 chain restrictions are used on occassion in the region, but rarely. Is this a once-in-a-blue-moon event or does this happen every year during major storms?

I'm picking up a free pair of chains from a friend later this summer as a security blanket. I'm asking these questions because I'm just curious how the roads are managed in the area. Also, I'd like to avoid spending $50 dollars for chains if I use my pass this spring during a freak snow storm.

Thanks!


I get asked almost every time they do chain control checks...but only once in 15 years has anyone made me get them out to prove it, and it's exactly as you described...a traffic stop where the cop decided giving me a speeding ticket wasn't enough pain. I had them buried in the back of the care UNDER the cargo area of my Subi (with the spare tire) and it was DUMPING. I had to unload the whole car to show him.

R3 happens maybe once a year or so (going off of memory) but it's extremely rare, and usually it goes from R2 to closed. If you get stuck in R3 conditions it's usually because you got through right before they closed the road.

I would like to add that even though I've only had to prove it once in 20 years (upon recalculating) I HAVE had to use them a handful of times on my Subaru....so I think it's a good idea. It's one of those things you only need when you REALLY NEED them.

_________________
Biker395 wrote:
All I can say is that I view the person who founded and grew the company as a hero, and the person that bought it and tore it down as a parasite. And I say that as an avowed capitalist.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:42 pm 
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Dave's Run
Dave's Run

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:33 pm
Posts: 1858
I have only been asked once in eleven years to show them and that was at the chain control leaving Bishop up to Mammoth. The road was just opened. They closed the road instead of issuing a R3. I keep the chains in a plastic toolbox vs. the original cardboard box, so there are no markings. However, I have large tires on my SUV and you can tell these chains are for a large tire.

We were driving up with some friends a few years ago and he was asked to show them at a chain control. The cop looked at the label on the box to make sure they matched. I was waived through and not asked a single question. I wondered what was taking him so long.

I think it's very rare for it to occur, but I does happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Sesame street
Sesame street

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:28 am
Posts: 3
Thanks for the info. I'm curious - does your Subaru model even allow for chains? According to my owner's manual, my Subaru does not due to insufficient clearance. It sounds like this issue is even worse when the car is turning. I'm guessing the risk of damage can be reduced if you mount the chains to the rear tires...


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:26 pm 
Offline
Climax
Climax

Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:03 pm
Posts: 2372
Location: 3 Sheets to the Wind and 4 cards to the Flush
ZZski wrote:
Thanks for the info. I'm curious - does your Subaru model even allow for chains? According to my owner's manual, my Subaru does not due to insufficient clearance. It sounds like this issue is even worse when the car is turning. I'm guessing the risk of damage can be reduced if you mount the chains to the rear tires...


Which model do you have? All Subi manuals say that fwiw. It's a corporate CYA thing. I have a 2009 Forester and my wife has a 2011 Outback. Both can take chains. Just get the low profile "Z-Chains"...but do your homework. Maybe Highwayman can chime in if he has recommendations.

I've used them on various wheels. Sometimes to get unstuck from something (In big snow years I'm usually pushing my luck on approach roads to the mountains and trying to be the first to push through snow drifts too often). But last year around Christmas/New Years when it was dumping in June I just put them on the rear tires and left them on for a couple of days. The roads were nasty.

_________________
Biker395 wrote:
All I can say is that I view the person who founded and grew the company as a hero, and the person that bought it and tore it down as a parasite. And I say that as an avowed capitalist.


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:41 pm 
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Sesame street
Sesame street

Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:28 am
Posts: 3
2013 Impreza Sport.

Based on the stories you guys are telling me, I suppose researching and purchasing a pair of chains that won't damage my car is probably a good investment. I'd definitely rather spend some cash now than miss out on a legendary powder day in the future :)


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:06 pm 
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Dragon's Back
Dragon's Back

Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:01 pm
Posts: 6408
You may not use the chains for years but there will come a day...

_________________
"I have seen the enemy, and it is us!" Pogo


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 Post subject: Re: Hello! (first post/questions about chain control)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:40 am 
Offline
Climax
Climax

Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:03 pm
Posts: 2372
Location: 3 Sheets to the Wind and 4 cards to the Flush
ZZski wrote:
2013 Impreza Sport.

Based on the stories you guys are telling me, I suppose researching and purchasing a pair of chains that won't damage my car is probably a good investment. I'd definitely rather spend some cash now than miss out on a legendary powder day in the future :)

Yeah, I don't know anything about the clearance on your car. I think researching it is a good call. I'm sure there's something that would work for you...

_________________
Biker395 wrote:
All I can say is that I view the person who founded and grew the company as a hero, and the person that bought it and tore it down as a parasite. And I say that as an avowed capitalist.


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