"I figured, ‘Oh good I'm going to get there early and be on time and the traffic was OK,’" Cindy Leal, driving up from Monterey, told FOX40.
Leal was heading to Reno for a second honeymoon but she, like so many others, was forced to exit the freeway in Colfax.
"It's all closed, and then I said, 'Everywhere?' and they said, 'Yeah, you can't go that way or that way,'" Leal said.
Liz Goldberg was supposed to be skiing at Squaw Valley on Friday, but instead was parked in Colfax since 8 a.m.
"So we've been sitting here, just playing with our iPhones, hoping that they open it up," she said.
But conditions along I-80 were too dangerous to let people pass, according to Caltrans. Heavy snow throughout the afternoon made it hard for plows to keep up.
"It's wet and heavy, it sticks to the roads, makes really bad driving conditions,” Connor Hanley, of Colfax, told FOX40. “Everything is really slick."
Hanley came down the mountain Friday morning. He says locals see the road closures as both a positive and a negative.
"It's hard for us driving on the road because we have to do day to day things, and we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all the people who aren't from here,” Hanley said. “But it's really good for the local businesses. When the roads shut down they get flooded with all of this external market."
Caltrans continued to work into Friday evening to clear the roads. Around 5 p.m., the CHP reported westbound and eastbound I-80 were reopened to traffic.