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The snow in California can get pretty heavy in well-known ski areas like Mammoth and Lake Tahoe. In the better ski areas, you would most likely bring tire chains because the sheriffs at the bottom of the hill won't let you drive up without them. So whether you drive a 4 door sedan or a souped-up F150, you would most likely bring a set of chains to keep your tires from sliding.

There are a few popular mountains in the Southern California area that jet up amidst the southern valley. Both Bear Mountain and Mountain High are frequented by all walks of skiers and snowboarders every year. The snow isn't as soft, and many times man-made. These mountains are convenient for the average ski-goer that only has to drive a few hours away to hit the slopes.

When it comes to preparation for mountainous conditions, many that go to Bear Mountain and Mountain High forget that the weather can get harsh and snow storms can certainly happen atop the mountain.

I made that mistake. I went on a Saturday day trip to Mountain High, on a perfectly sunny day. It was so warm that I wore a T-shirt throughout the whole day riding. Once the sun starting coming down and it got closer to night, my friend and I took our last ride and hopped in his Ford Ranger for our drive back home.

The sky quickly filled with grey and it began to snow heavily. Being unprepared, inexperienced skiers, we didn't have any snow chains with us. My friends Ranger was sliding all over the road, on virtually every turn! We ended up taking a "scenic route" to get home and luckily made it back to San Diego after an extremely slow drive down the mountain since we didn't have tire chains.

So the next time you hit the mountains, even if tire chains aren't required, I highly recommend bringing a pair. You never know if a storm may move in like it did on us.
 
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