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Safety tips for heading up to the snow

You may be tempted to head to the mountains to enjoy the snow this weekend. Popular places such as the San Bernardino National Forest are closed, but Mount Laguna was open Friday, drawing plenty of people to see the snow.

Santee resident Michael Pittman loves only having to drive about 45 minutes to see snow, but he said he was very cautious of the winding roads and shared this advice for drivers: “Slow and steady, watch out during the morning or at night, look for ice patches in shade. Just slow and steady."

That advice was echoed by the managing partner at the Laguna Mountain Lodge, who just goes by Tom.


“Be safe. Go slow. Bring supplies. Bring extra clothes. Bring water. Make sure you have chains in your car that fit,” he said. “A lot of people show up here with chains, and they don’t fit their cars, and they're stuck because there’s no place to buy them up here.”

Tom also recommended filling up your car with gas because the closest gas station is 11 miles away. And if you have an electric car: “Make sure you know your range and make sure you’re topped off before you get here because there’s no place to charge on the mountain. I think the nearest charging station is probably 25 miles away.”

If you plan to bring your four-legged family member with you, make sure to keep them on a leash.

“A lot of people think they can be off leash, but California says no,” he said. “It’s a leash state, but people lose their dogs up here all the time. They take off after rabbits or squirrels or whatever and then they lose them out here for a long time. Sometimes they never find them.”

Pittman brought his two young sons to see the snow, and brought along extra supplies for them. “Everything plus one. We have extra clothes for them after. Sometimes their clothes get wet,” he said. “You never know, you might get stuck in traffic for a couple hours, coming up or coming down. You want to have snacks and be prepared if you have little ones.”


Visitors also have to watch where they park. Plows may be working on maintaining the roads, so do not double-park or park where there are “No Parking” signs.

“Everybody’s been getting stuck. I stuck this one yesterday. I’ve stuck my snowplow about eight times in this storm, had to get pulled out,” Tom said. “It’s no joke, so you’ve got to be prepared and don’t go places you don’t know where you’re going to go and how you’re going to get back out.”

And he had one more request for visitors: “Just be courteous and stay away from people’s homes and don’t cut fences. Some people live here — it’s not all national forest. So you’ve got to be respectful of the environment and take your trash home with you is the big thing.”

You can check out road closures and current weather conditions at before heading out for your winter fun.