Mountain Times: Where there’s snow, there’s a blocked highway |

Mountain Times: Where there’s snow, there’s a blocked highway

Norm and Alan NichollsMountain Times
By Norm and Alan NichollsMountain Times

Sunday’s storm moved in a bit early and caught a lot of people, including myself, off guard. I met my nephew in Dutch Flat on Sunday morning to conduct a little family business, and when I got back on the road to come home at 10:45 a.m., it was too late. It has been several years since I have been stuck on the freeway, but Sunday reminded me of some of the fun and frustration that can occur during winter storm conditions.Within 5 minutes of coming to a dead stop at the Drum Power House exit, people were out of their cars, walking around, slipping and falling on their rears, throwing snow balls, and building snow men. Just in front of me a very tall college student from Cal Berkeley was showing his girl friend how to make snow angels … in the middle of the freeway!Once I got moving, it went pretty well going to Truckee, but I observed westbound traffic was bumper to bumper, and at a complete stop in several areas. When I got to Truckee the real frustration began. I took the Donner Pass Rd. exit, but it was backed up from the west bound on ramp back toward Donner Lake.I jumped back on the freeway and took the Highway 89 south exit in hopes of less congestion. That took me into the andamp;#8220;double roundabout gridlockandamp;#8221; where no one wanted to yield to the other guy. It is a kick to watch people staring straight ahead, hoping to become invisible, after they have committed the sin of blocking the thoroughfare for the gain of 10 to 20 feet. Others lay on their horns to remind the idiot of his ignorance, then proceed to do the same thing!The next source of andamp;#8220;local gridlockandamp;#8221; was created by the lack of the emergency road plan (cones and signs) which allows for an express lane to the freeway, and a secondary lane for Tahoe Donner and Donner Lake travelers on Donner Pass Road. A couple of hours later I was told (correctly or incorrectly) that the Town’s andamp;#8220;subcontractorandamp;#8221; who sets up this road reconfiguration plan is from Renoandamp;#8230;please say this isn’t so! Oh, well, until the next storm.All bitching aside, we all owe our emergency personnel and plow operators a gratitude of thanks for their commitment and efforts during extreme conditions. We also owe their spouses and families a big thank you for the sacrifices they make, and the shoveling they have to do during the times their loved ones are out helping the rest of us.Way to go sports teams! Our congratulations to all the players, coaches and supporters of the fall sports teams of both Truckee High School and North Tahoe High. This was an incredible year featuring several Nevada State championship teams, as well as other teams who were very competitive and whose players worked hard and had a lot of fun. Sports programs have always been an integral part of the educational and social upbringing of our local kids, and a source of entertainment for our local citizenry. Sports and other extra curricular activities (in and out of school) teach our students commitment, pride, self-esteem, sportsmanship, athleticism, teamwork, and other necessary elements for growth and success.As a lot of you know, many school districts around our state have had to reduce or eliminate their sports programs due to budgetary constraints. We cannot let this happen in the Truckee/North Tahoe area. It would be a disaster for our kids and our community as a whole. We do not need $20 million for new sports fields (at least at this time), but this community sure needs to do whatever is necessary to ensure that sports and extracurricular activities remain available for our kids. Prudent planning by our School Board, booster clubs, community foundations, etc. is extremely important and if such planning has not been implemented, it needs to begin now. Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd.

Two more questions: This week’s question of the week and the next one in our column on Dec. 23 will be the last two for 2009. As a reminder, the names of all participants who answer our questions are put into a hat, and a name is drawn out at the end of each year. The winner of the drawing is able to designate the charity of their choice to be the recipient of a $500 contribution that we will donate in the winner’s name. Two of the past 3 years, the winners were actually players who answered questions in December … so it is not too late to participate and get your chance to win! Good luck.Last week’s question: andamp;#8220;Tahoe Ski Bowlandamp;#8221; was the ski area andamp;#8220;southandamp;#8221; of Homewood Ski Area which was later combined with Homewood. Theresa Avril wrote: andamp;#8220;Homewood Ski Area was the original name. On the south side was Tahoe Ski Bowl. In 1988 Homewood combined with Tahoe Ski Bowl into what they then called Homewood Ski Area North and South.andamp;#8221;Early bird winner Carla Beebe was joined by Barbara Brill, Wes Schimmelpfenning, Alan Harry, Joyce Engler, Lorene Cole, Steve Marshman, Carol Fromson, Leslie Trippy, Bill Mullins, Dean Litchfield, Norval Ayers (from Maui), Keith Mickelson, Mary De Lisle, and Norm Ginsberg in correctly answering the question and setting the record straight that Tahoe Ski Bowl was south (not north) of Homewood.This week’s question … What was the name of the annual Christmas craft/gift faire that used to be held annually at the Truckee Park andamp; Rec Community Center? Call us at 550-5035 or e-mail us at with your answer or with past memories you may wish to share in a future column.