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Snoqualmie Pass

vasisht

Member
Jun 16, 2020
7
2
Seattle, WA
Hi folks,

Newish M3 LR AWD owner in Seattle here and looking for some advice about traveling across Snoqualmie Pass. Heading there in a couple of weeks and the info on here seems to be a few years old, focusing on the dearth of super chargers in the area. It looks like there’s many more now, and I have no range anxiety.

Wondering what the group here thinks about chains? I’m stalking the DOT website that talks about road conditions on I-90 but don’t know what the area around Wenatchee/Leavenworth is like in terms of driving conditions in December?

Thanks so much!
 

chrstna4

Member
Sep 3, 2020
188
250
Seattle
In case you didn’t know, the Cle Elum charger has a Tesla Lounge in the strip mall with a code to access it 24/7 in the in-car map info for the charger. It’s a great place to have a comfort break. And if you’re there during business hours, the cafe that offers the lounge has good food.

The pass gets a lot of attention to keep it safe to drive but there will be times during storms when you’ll need to take a lot of care or use traction aids.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: alpinehijinx

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,047
9,130
Seattle
Hi folks,

Newish M3 LR AWD owner in Seattle here and looking for some advice about traveling across Snoqualmie Pass. Heading there in a couple of weeks and the info on here seems to be a few years old, focusing on the dearth of super chargers in the area. It looks like there’s many more now, and I have no range anxiety.

Wondering what the group here thinks about chains? I’m stalking the DOT website that talks about road conditions on I-90 but don’t know what the area around Wenatchee/Leavenworth is like in terms of driving conditions in December?

Thanks so much!
I mean you'll need to look at a weather report, but obviously snow is possible if not likely in the mountains in December. If your schedule is inflexible, you'll need to have traction tires and/or chains. If you don't mind changing your plans at the last minute and waiting out a snowstorm for a day or two, you can probably get by without. As chrstna4 says, the highways are pretty well maintained with plows, sand, salt, etc., especially I-90.
 
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Reactions: Jeff Davlt

vasisht

Member
Jun 16, 2020
7
2
Seattle, WA
Thanks. I'm considering getting winter tires and doing a seasonal swap like I did when I lived in Upstate NY. Any suggestions for local shops that do tire + wheel storage?
 

SteveG

New Member
Mar 31, 2019
3
0
Bellingham, WA
Just as a point of interest - you mention the Wenatchee/Leavenworth area. They are not along I-90. Were you planning on taking Hwy 97 to get up there from I-90? The pass on that road is 1000' higher than Snoqualmie.
 

Kuhz

Active Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,899
2,061
Mars
Just as a point of interest - you mention the Wenatchee/Leavenworth area. They are not along I-90. Were you planning on taking Hwy 97 to get up there from I-90? The pass on that road is 1000' higher than Snoqualmie.
However Blewett pass is usually no issue if if one makes in past snoqualmie
 

Kuhz

Active Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,899
2,061
Mars
That's correct - taking I90 To Cle Elum and then 97 to Leavenworth. I like the security of knowing I have multiple superchargers on that route.
You’re over thinking this. Taking that route, you don’t need any Superchargers on the way. Just top off at Leavenworth supercharger before heading back.
 

vasisht

Member
Jun 16, 2020
7
2
Seattle, WA
That’s great to hear. Thanks! Being new to the area, I don’t know how bad I-90 gets in the winter and what to really expect. Drove to Crystal mountain earlier in the week and that was totally fine.
 

N8DGR8

Member
Jan 14, 2015
146
168
Seattle, WA
I have an older RWD Tesla model S. I like the Tire Socks a lot better than chains. My experience is that the pass closes before AWD cars need chains. On our AWD gas guzzler I only use chains for driving around our neighborhood before the plows come through.
 
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andrewFW

Member
Nov 4, 2019
154
407
Seattle area
I have a dual motor X, and I have autosocks, but I'm a transplant from Florida so all this cold stuff confuses me. I don't know when to put them on or even how, so I just don't go in that direction this time of year. =P

There should be a class you can take on getting used to new regions.
 

chrstna4

Member
Sep 3, 2020
188
250
Seattle
Is there a brand of tire socks people like? I went to Amazon and saw some photos of different ones ripped to shreds. I’ve driven Snoqualmie Pass for 27 years and never had to put chains on, but always had them with me. I just got my Tesla in July so I need to figure out traction aids to carry now.
 

ReddyLeaf

Active Member
Mar 19, 2014
1,577
2,376
WA State
That’s great to hear. Thanks! Being new to the area, I don’t know how bad I-90 gets in the winter and what to really expect. Drove to Crystal mountain earlier in the week and that was totally fine.
Welcome. You are definitely over thinking this. In decades past, Snoqualmie Pass could be challenging. My parents told me stories of 10-15 foot walls of snow, but I haven’t seen that in decades. With climate change (global warming) and risk averse WSDOT, it’s basically a Sunday drive. They usually require 4WD or chains as soon as any snow accumulates, closing it when the plows can’t keep up and more than a few inches accumulates. There is so much traffic now that multiple car crashes are a distinct possibility, so they close it or require chains even though conditions are just fine for people who know how to drive in the snow. Timing is the key. When the snow falls at a foot an hour, just wait. It will be cleared by the next day, even if avalanche control explosives are required.
 
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Reactions: DustWindDude

52 16 57 39

BioDiesel & Electrons
Nov 20, 2020
210
172
Tacoma, WA
As a 45 year veteran of the PNW - and a local skier as well - I drive Snoqualmie Pass every winter weekend. Admittedly, I don’t go over the pass to Wenatchee - I just get to the Pass for skiing and then return home to Tacoma.

However, for 20 years I’ve driven my 2000 VW Golf TDI, front wheel drive only with studless snow tires, and 1” lowered suspension (so it looks like a golf R or GTI) - and I chain up maybe once every 2-3 years. I cannot adjust my timing as I have ski classes to teach - but I always carry chains just in case.

I’ve always been jealous of the AWD cars that can drive through the check points when chains are required - but now I’m one of those AWD vehicles! I have 19” Gemini wheels w stock tires & once those stock tires are dead I’ll upgrade to a more winter minded tire, but for now I’m all good.

Please be and stay prepared. Drive in control and by all means please practice winter car control in a safe space before trying the snow conditions in WA. Our wet snow is very different than the dry snows of New Mexico or Wisconsin.
 

DustWindDude

Member
Mar 4, 2019
51
59
Bonney Lake, WA
I have lived in WA most of my life and driven over the Cascade passes a lot. I have predominantly driven AWD vehicles and I can't remember ever owning a set of chains. All of my previous AWD cars (Audi A6, Audi 90, VW Tiguan) have generally had all-season tires and I have never felt out of control or anxious driving the passes. Personally, I think chains (especially if you have AWD) are are more trouble than they are worth; including the potential to do damage to my alignment and drive train. You're not supposed to go over 30mph with chains on anyway, and I have yet to get into any kind of control trouble going that slow with AWD.

That being said, I did purchase a spare set of rims for my Model X this year, which I plan to wrap with winter rubber. This is mainly because I plan on snowboarding as much as possible this year, and I am not keen on effing up my 22" Turbines.
 
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Tectonic

Member
Jan 27, 2020
231
430
Colorado
I've had largely the same experience as the above posters, but I came to a different conclusion. I've driven an AWD vehicle for the past 25 years - although I have never used chains, I've found the small investment of purchasing chains and carrying them in the vehicle to be well worth it. And, although WaSP may not routinely check, state law requires AWD vehicles to *carry* chains under "chains required" conditions, even if they aren't required to be used...

Winter driving - Studded tires, traction tires & chains - WSDOT.
 

N8DGR8

Member
Jan 14, 2015
146
168
Seattle, WA
Is there a brand of tire socks people like? I went to Amazon and saw some photos of different ones ripped to shreds. I’ve driven Snoqualmie Pass for 27 years and never had to put chains on, but always had them with me. I just got my Tesla in July so I need to figure out traction aids to carry now.

I have the AS695 AutoSock . Used it once or twice, they are still good. These will not last as long as chains. I consider the "ripped to shreds" a feature. It is better to have the AutoSock rip to shreds than to have the chains "rip your beautiful Tesla to shreds". They are way easier to get on and off. Don't require crawling under the car in the mud and snow. Store easier. Ride smoother. The only downsideI know of, is if they get wet and freeze they no longer work.
 

im.thatoneguy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
323
580
Seattle, WA
I've lived in Washington almost all of my life and never needed to chain up for Snoqualmie pass. Like someone else said. It's usually closed before it's Chains only. I have a pair of socks in my truck as a legal compliance/low cost insurance policy. The torn up socks are mostly people driving on bare asphalt or above 20mph. If you need chains on Snoqualmie you're going to be way past bare asphalt and noway you'll be driving over 20mph.

There was once in college (when I drove across Snoqualmie twice a week) where it was chains only as I approached the mountain. But by the time I reached North Bend it was reduced to a suggestion.
 

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