I-5 Open over the Grapevine; Mt. Pinos Snowplay Area Closed; Surface Roads Hazardous

  • Snowbunny Hill in Cuddy Valley will have plenty of snow to play in when the storm has passed. This photo was taken Sunday, March 20 at 9:05 a.m. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

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    Snowbunny Hill in Cuddy Valley will have plenty of snow to play in when the storm has passed. This photo was taken Sunday, March 20 at 9:05 a.m. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

  • One of the unplowed residential roads in Pine Mountain, Sunday at 8:37 a.m. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

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    One of the unplowed residential roads in Pine Mountain, Sunday at 8:37 a.m. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

  • Eastbound Mil Potrero Highway at the top of the S-curves near Ward Drive, at 8:41 a.m. Sunday. Mil Potero Highway was passable with 4x4 and/or chains or studded snow tires. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

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    Eastbound Mil Potrero Highway at the top of the S-curves near Ward Drive, at 8:41 a.m. Sunday. Mil Potero Highway was passable with 4x4 and/or chains or studded snow tires. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

  • Coming into Frazier Park from Pine Mountain at 9:12 a.m., Sunday. Very little snow accumulation compared to Pine Mountain. Roads were being plowed up into Pine Mountain by this time. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

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    Coming into Frazier Park from Pine Mountain at 9:12 a.m., Sunday. Very little snow accumulation compared to Pine Mountain. Roads were being plowed up into Pine Mountain by this time. [Mountain Enterprise photo]

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, CA (Monday, March 21 at 5:27 p.m.)—Interstate 5 is still open. Primary surface roads throughout the Mountain Communities are plowed. Residential roads are still a problem in most areas, with many people in the Pine Mountain community still unable to dig their vehicles out from over three feet of snow in some areas. Berms and inadequate plowing are still a problem, with plowing resources being pulled away intermittently to help with emergency situations.

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, CA (Monday, March 21 at 9:40 a.m.)—CHP and Caltrans opened Interstate 5 over the Grapevine (Tejon Pass) in both north and south directions at about 9:20 a.m. 

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, LAKE of the WOODS (Moday, March 21 at 8:30 a.m.)—Interstate 5 over the Grapevine (Tejon Pass) remains closed due to snow and ice conditions. Check back at this web page for updates. Road crews have made significant progress on Frazier Mountain Park Road (up to the Y), Mt. Pinos Way in Frazier Park and Mil Potrero Highway, although Mil Potrero is still extremely dangerous due to ice conditions. Only vehicles with 4-wheel drive and snow tires or 2-wheel drive with chains should drive Mil Potrero Highway.

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, LAKE of the WOODS (Sunday, March 20 at 10:53 p.m.)—Kern County Fire Station 56 and 57 have responded to a Lake of the Woods garage fire. The engines are using four wheel drive and chains on all tires in order to get from Mt. Pinos Way to Frazier Mountain Park Road. A Kern County Roads Department plow also responded to requests to open access to the Lakewood Drive location, according to radio reports. UPDATE: At 11:12 p.m. firefighters reported they were nearly done at the fire site (smoldering in a garage wall) and anticipated finishing up within 15 minutes.

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, LAKE of the WOODS, PINE MOUNTAIN (Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.)—Driving conditions remain hazardous throughout the Mountain Communities this evening. A Kern County Fire Engine has slid into a snow bank, but is back on the road, hindered by unplowed roads. It appears Kern County Roads Department is stretched very thin. Plowing and cindering is delayed throughout the region. Residents are advised to avoid going out if possible. Drive very slowly with chains or studded tires and four-wheel drive if you must go out. Please have your emergency kit, warm clothing, and snow boots in the car in case your vehicle gets stuck. There are numerous cars along the roads that have been unable to continue traveling.

UPDATE—FRAZIER PARK, CA (Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 7:05 p.m.)–Interstate 5 was closed over the Grapevine (Tejon Pass) at 7 p.m. by Caltrans and California Highway Patrol due to snowy weather conditions. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes through Mojave and Lancaster on the east, and U.S. 101 on the west to reach destinations north and south of the Grapevine.

FRAZIER PARK, CA (Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.)–Interstate 5 is currently open over the Grapevine (Tejon Pass). Mt. Pinos Road which leads up the mountain from Cuddy Valley to the snowplay area is closed. It is likely that Mt. Pinos Road will remain closed until the storm passes and crews have been able to clear the road, according to comments from Kern County Roads Department Director Craig Pope at a Mountain Communities Municipal Advisory Council meeting about road closures on Tuesday, March 15 in Frazier Park. Check back at this page for updates on road closures and snowplay information. CHP reports that multiple vehicles are stuck along the roadway from Cuddy Valley through Mil Potrero Highway into Pine Mountain.

Drivers are instructed not to attempt to drive through Cuddy Valley or into Pine Mountain unless four-wheel drive or chains are used.

Businesses open this morning along Mt. Pinos Way in downtown Frazier Park are: La Sierra Mexican is serving breakfast, High Mountain Market is serving Mid-Eastern deli and sandwiches, Big John’s diner is serving breakfast and Coffee Cantina is serving breakfast. Both Ace Hardware and Alpine Lumber are open, helping visitors with their purchases of vehicle chains.

Directions to Mount Piños:

To reach Mount Pinos, travel north on Interstate 5 about 60 miles from Los Angeles and exit at Frazier Mountain Park Road. Turn left (west) and go 12 miles. At the Mil Potrero Highway split, take the left fork onto Mt. Pinos Road. If the snow gate is open, drive about 9 miles to the top where you can park in the parking lot and access the snowplay areas around the parking lot. There is a Nordic Ski Patrol (Nordic Base) facility where you can purchase hot chocolate and snacks.

Please remember to park carefully, pointing the front of the car downhill for safety. Don’t block the roadway. Drive slowly and don’t stop suddenly in the middle of the road. Watch your children carefully when unpacking the car. Excited children may rush into the street, into danger. And please: "pack it in, pack it out." Keep the mountain beautiful by taking all trash home with you to dispose of properly. That includes cracked plastic sleds and baby diapers! Thanks for being considerate guests.

A note from the publisher—Help Support the Local Businesses:

While you are enjoying the snow, stop in Frazier Park (only 5 minutes west of Interstate 5) or drive down Mil Potrero Highway to Pine Mountain (only 5 miles west of Cuddy Valley) and have lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants in the area. Gift shops are also open for business.

Like what you see? Why not stop in and speak with one of the area real estate agents? In Pine Mountain Village you’ll find Pine Mountain Realty, Mountain Properties, All Seasons Realty and Jennings Realty. Ask about vacation cabin rentals and home sales. In Frazier Park you can stop at Frazier Mountain Real Estate on Mt. Pinos Way, as well as All Seasons Realty and Mountain Properties, both at the entrance to town, on Monterey Trail. In Lake of the Woods, Grapevine Real Estate is on Lockwood Valley Road.

Have you recently purchased one of the many fantastic properties available on the mountain? Maybe it’s time to speak with a general contractor about building your dream cabin this summer. See the Business Directory in the print edition of The Mountain Enterprise. Subscribe online now at http://mountainenterprise.com/subscribe.php

You can also view the local business directory online at /directory.php

This is part of the March 18, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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