Heading to the mountains? Here are some tips to keep you safe on the road

PRATHER, Calif. (KFSN) -- The winter storm brought a fresh blanket of snow to the mountains, making for a strong start to the season from China Peak.

It was an exciting day for skiers, snowboarders and anyone looking to get up the mountain, but braving the cold conditions was only half the battle.

Fresh powder in the mountains means all skill levels are put to the test, but not just on the slopes.

RELATED: China Peak kicks off snow season with a whopping 5 feet of snow

Many drivers got stuck or were forced to turn around because they didn't have chains.

"It was very scary, the road was wet. We couldn't make it up the hill," said Robin Dixon of Inglewood.

Dixon and her family are spending the weekend at Shaver Lake, but needed a lift after two attempts up the hill, turning around to get chains, then turning around to get the right size chains.

But was it worth it?

"It's so white up there, I feel like Christmas came early for us," Dixon said.

Caltrans posted chain requirements at 3,000 feet for most of the day..

After sunset, the snow and slush turned to ice. CHP Officer Mike Salas said crews were busy responding to stranded motorist calls.

"We've also had quite a few minor injury crashes," he said.

He said in addition to chains, drivers should stay patient as conditions on the road are constantly changing.

"It could sneak up on you, whether you're a seasoned driver or a first-timer trying to go and check out the snow."

Something to always keep in mind before making your way up the hill is to check in with Caltrans - call 1800-427-ROAD.

That's where you can get current conditions because Caltrans could be changing the elevation at which chains are required due to the unpredictable weather.
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