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High avalanche danger, winds topping 100 mph as blizzard slams Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra Nevada

Rong-Gong Lin II, Salvador Hernandez and Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

“I always tell people, don’t follow your Google maps or other apps, ever,” he said. “Know your route and stick to that route.”

The father and son know the work can be dangerous, but it’s been slow for most of the year, and strong storms are what will also help keep their businesses going.

Just in case, they and their drivers will pack extra food, blankets and clothes in the two trucks for the long, cold days ahead, and in case they themselves become stranded. During one of the last strong storms, Jimenez Jr. said, one of his drivers was stranded for about 14 hours before another tow truck was able to get to him.

But after a slow year for their business, they welcome the work.

“This is a feast-or-famine type of situation,” Jimenez Jr. said. “When it’s time to feast, we’re out there to make money.”

Ski resorts were thrilled with the impending snowfall but joined officials in warning that mountain roads could be closed during the worst of the storm. Ski resorts could face partial or full closures during the peak of the blizzard on Friday and Saturday.


“We do expect that Sunday will be a day of patience as we dig out,” Palisades Tahoe said on social media.

“It’s going to DUMP,” Mammoth Mountain said on social media. “It’s looking like we have a lot of digging to look forward to the next few days.”

“During these major storms expect DEEP snow, always ski and ride with a buddy, keep your buddy in sight and avoid the base of trees. Be aware of Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) dangers,” Mammoth Mountain said, referring to the risk when skiers leave groomed trails and fall into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow.

“If wind and snow were not enough, it will be much colder,” the National Weather Service office in Reno said. “Wind chills will drop below zero in the Sierra high country. This really does add a serious life-threatening element to this storm, and why you want to avoid getting stuck!”


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