Sierra Visitors May Need to Rethink Memorial Day Plans Due to Winter-Like Conditions

SODA SPRINGS — Once again, storm clouds are billowing over the high Sierra and they will deliver snow.

Jared Licht lives in Truckee and he loves being able to ski in the morning and ride his bike in the afternoon.

“I like the diversity. I’m ready for spring and summer but skiing’s still fun and there’s really good skiing out there to be had,” he told FOX40.

However, there is concern in the mountains that some Memorial Day travelers will not be ready for nature’s diversity.

Sgt. Dave Hunt of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office says hiking at high elevations this weekend might be out of the question.

“The Pacific Crest Trail is snowed in. I’m sure there are people up that there trekking around in snowshoes but if you’re not prepared for the incoming winter weather, then you’re going to run into some trouble,” Hunt said.

Many dirt roads were still impossible to drive on Monday.

“You’re going to run out of dirt road real quick and you’re going to run into snow,” Hunt explained. “And if you run into snow and you continue going, there’s a good chance you’re going to get stuck, and in some of those areas there’s no cell phone coverage.”

If your Memorial Day weekend plans involved a comfortable camping trip, you may want to make alternate plans.

The Hampshire Rocks Campground near Donner Summit typically opens for the season at this time. It will not be ready this weekend, according to its website. Its barbecues and picnic tables are surrounded by snow and, in some cases, still buried in it.

Other campgrounds around Lake Tahoe are open but there are warnings on their websites.

Sugar Pine State Park is warning campers that there will be snow and wet ground in many of the campsites.

Swimming in a mountain lake this weekend could be life-threatening.

“You’re going to realize real quick that you may not be able to swim back to shore even with a life vest on,” Sgt. Hunt said. “Your muscles will contract, you’ll freeze up and you may not make it back to shore.”

The beauty of the mountains is unmistakable but first responders will tell you it would be a mistake to expect anything but winter-like weather this weekend.

“So dress for the weather, be prepared and understand that it’s going to be winter driving conditions,” Hunt said.