Sierra snow brings trouble for travelers, excitement for businesses

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(KTXL) — Eastbound travelers on Interstate-80 Tuesday night were met with a chain control checkpoint at Kingvale.

At around 6,000 feet, travelers chained up under a drenching rain.

But just a few miles east and 500 feet higher in elevation, the reason for those chain requirements became clear. There were slippery conditions over the summit because of a heavy snowfall.

At Donner Summit Gas in Soda Springs, staff were thankful for the storm.

“But it already feels like Christmas and everybody up here is real happy that it finally came,” said employee Leslie Mattice.

The snow is great for business in the mountains.

But Mattice advised against driving on such a night.

“Yeah, don’t. Stay home. Give it a couple of days then come out. And if you do come out, make sure you have your blankets, your water and pet food if you bring your pets,” Mattice said. “We have a lot of people spend the night sometimes and it’s not good. So, just be prepared.”

Jeremy Montgomery was traveling all the way to Nebraska. He said his plans hit a roadblock when a chain installer put the chains on the wrong tires.

“Should have been on the rear and not the front,” he explained.

So, he had to do it himself and hoped to get over the summit while he still could.

Up near Donner Summit, the snow was falling heavily on Boreal Mountain Resort.

That’s where Brooke Schumacher and her friends celebrated her 15th birthday with a snowball fight. Brooke said her mother has never driven in snow, so they were thinking about waiting out the storm at a hotel in Truckee.

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