Visit California has joined forces with Ski California (California Ski Industry Association), as well as several key state agencies, including the California State Transportation Agency, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Governor’s Office of Business of Economic Development to promote safe winter travel and new strategies to keep major resort roads clear and accessible for residents and tourists this 2020 snow season.
“California’s winter resorts are open for business and welcoming visitors to experience the state’s snow sports, mountain communities and unparalleled vistas,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. “As one of the world’s top winter destinations, it truly takes a coalition of forces to keep our roadways and mountain resort areas open and safe for travelers to take in the iconic scenic drives.”
“Fortunately, our state has already seen an abundance of snow as the season begins – creating perfect conditions on the slopes, but also challenging road conditions at times,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary David Kim. “We are committed to working together to ensure consistent messaging to motorists and improving our efforts to keep roadways safe and open.”
Caltrans oversees the maintenance and operations of more than about 50,000 miles of roadway on the State Highway System. The Caltrans equipment shops and maintenance yards in and around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Kingvale, the San Bernardino mountains and other snow areas throughout the state work throughout the year to prepare more than 250 pieces of equipment from plow trucks to rotary snow blowers to avalanche control equipment for the winter.
Caltrans is testing improved procedures at chain control stops, increasing digital signage to communicate with drivers and employing GPS- and sensor-guidance systems to keep plows running in whiteout conditions, helping travelers reach their winter destinations safely.
“Safety is the ultimate priority for Caltrans in all seasons, and in the winter our team works tirelessly to keep mountain roadways clear for motorists,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “We ask travelers to be alert, and take it slow in ice and snow – to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others.”
The CHP has focused on expanding its messaging tactics in coordination with other governmental agencies and the ski industry to reach more motorists, and supporting methods to keep traffic flowing on roadways impacted by snow and ice.
“We all have the same goal: to ensure safety, and the CHP is doing whatever we can to communicate with the driving public so they know what to expect when they set out on a trip along California’s highways,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley.
Ski resorts and winter sports are big business in California, with more than a $1.5 billion impact on the state’s economy, according to Ski California.
“Ski resorts and winter sports are an important part of California’s economy, accounting for more than $1.5 billion in economic impact,” said Lenny Mendonca, chief economic and business advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “I applaud our state agencies for being proactive and keeping the roads clear so that millions of people from around the world can visit California’s mountains and enjoy the local businesses there each year during ski season.”
“California’s ski, snowboard and après ski opportunities are world-class, and our snow industry remains committed to invest in facility and on-mountain improvements that are only making the experience better for Californians, and the many travelers who visit,” said Michael Reitzell, president of Ski California. “Without the critical and sustained efforts and collaboration of our state’s transportation agencies, it would be impossible for our industry to operate.”
For the most up-to-date information on road conditions and chain controls, travelers can access Caltrans’ online “Quick Map” at quickmap.dot.ca.gov. Travelers are also encouraged to consult the CHP and Caltrans’ social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in snow areas for information on road conditions, chain controls, or other details that may impact their trip. To find a local CHP Area office, go to www.chp.ca.gov/find-an-office. Changeable Message Signs will also be used to share information as possible on chain requirements and road closures.
From snow surfing or building a surfing snowman, to tubing, hot-tubbing or enjoying a perfect powder day, California is home to one of the longest ski seasons in North America with the ultimate landscape for a snow adventure. Travelers should plan ahead and be prepared for unpredictable and changing winter weather conditions before they leave home to better ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
To discover what it means to Catch the Winter Wave in California and start planning a snow trip, check out visitcalifornia.com/catch-winter-wave. For mountain safety, resort info and more, go to skicalifornia.org. To see what’s new on the slopes this season, visit media.visitcalifornia.com.
Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, spending by travelers totaled $140.6 billion in 2018 in California, generating nearly 1.2 million jobs in the state and $11.8 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor’s Guide, go to www.visitcalifornia.com.