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California coalition collaborates to keep motorists, road conditions safe as snow season begins

As snow season kicks off across California’s mountain communities, key state agencies and travel industry leaders have partnered to promote safe driving for adventure-seekers heading in search of snow play this winter. Throughout the pandemic, mountain regions have seen consistently strong demand as travelers sought outdoor experiences, prompting an increase in vehicles on the roads, as well as a need to ensure safety for drivers in snowy conditions.

“California’s snowy destinations continue to beckon the adventurous, whether they’re skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, sledders or snowman builders,” Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. “California’s travel industry leaders are committed to ensuring we contribute however we can to ensure motorists understand how to navigate conditions to find their way to those dreamy snowy experiences.”

Leaders from Visit California, the California State Transportation Agency, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Ski California and regional tourism boards throughout the state work together to keep travelers informed, and roads clear and accessible for drivers experiencing winter conditions that affect traffic patterns.

“California’s winter offerings are the envy of the world, and we want to ensure everyone traveling to enjoy them does so safely,” said David S. Kim, Secretary of the California Transportation Agency. “Through this innovative collaboration of state government and industry, we’ve developed a cohesive, multilayered network to respond to winter road conditions and keep travelers informed and safe.”

As snowfall has begun, these organizations are implementing tactics to encourage responsible driving and safe snow play in designated areas.

Tactics for the 2021-22 season include increased signage to notify drivers about road conditions, encouraging the use of chains and designating specific lanes and parking lots for chain installation, increased snow plowing of roads, as well as sidewalks to encourage walking short distances rather than driving, and more. Visit California also spreads the word across its websites and social media networks, reaching millions of followers, many of whom may be unfamiliar about mountain safety in California.

“Our mission is to ensure everyone arrives at their destination and returns home safely,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Snowy conditions can impact traffic, so we ask the public to be prepared and be patient, knowing that CHP officers are working with our traffic safety partners to keep traffic moving safely.”

As a silver lining, the travel restrictions in place over the last two snow seasons have allowed many of these organizations to improve their infrastructure as well as to educate and prepare their teams for the strong demand for snow play as it returns to pre-pandemic levels.

“Over the last two years, our team has been tested more than ever on our ability to respond to emergency situations, including snowstorms and several extreme weather events,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “We’re prepared. We’re ready to support snow communities to ensure this season is a safe and successful one.”

From snowball fights to enjoying a perfect powder day on the slopes, 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.

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 encouraged to consult the CHP and Caltrans’ social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, in snow areas for 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 on state highways will also share information on chain requirements and road closures.

For mountain safety, resort info and more, go to skicalifornia.org.

This article was released by Visit California.