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4WD in Tahoe, how did you do?

2609 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  tseeb
Anyone drive up to Tahoe this last winter when 4WD was needed? How did you do? Did you need to add additional traction?
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Well, I drove to tahoe 2 yeara ago and I was hopping to get stuck,
in the snow but no I did not need it. To bad:(
Last year, the roads were pretty clear, but the roads between the cabin area and town were pretty icey during certain weeks. Cars sliding down the road... LoL 4WD came in really handy, w/o chains, on our old faithful Land Cruiser, just wondering how the Pilot's 4WD behaves?
I took the family up to Tahoe last Christmas and it was white out conditions. The pilot was flawless. We drove up to highway 89 towards Homewood until we realized the road is closed prior to getting to Homewood. We did notice a Pilot without 4wd on the way back had problems on some of the steeper grades. With our 4wd pilot we had no problems. We also drove from South lake tahoe to Sierra at Tahoe ski resort. There were highway patrol checkpoints to ensure vehicles without 4wd had chains, however with our pilot we just drove right through the checkpoint. Just make sure that you take it nice and slow even with 4wd and you'll be alright.
kmaintl said:
Anyone drive up to Tahoe this last winter when 4WD was needed? How did you do? Did you need to add additional traction?
Here is my experience:
http://www.piloteers.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=23410&highlight=snow
I think our experience (most driving in Bay Area) is significantly lower than people living in Tahoe or any other snow/hilly area. It would be nice to get their feedback. You may want to search the forum. There were number of good posts I remember.

Michal :4:
VERY helpful posts, thanks! Both of you were are using STOCK (Highway All Season) tires, correct?

Love those photos, I was there the week after you posted the Tahoe photos, some heavy 2 days of snow during that week.
I have Michelin x-terrains.
I drive to Tahoe and other snowy areas yearly. I don't know what tires the 09 comes with, but the stockers for an 03-08 are Goodyear Integrity and they do "okay" in snow. I did two winters in them before switching to the Michelin Cross Terrains on my 05. The CTs felt much better and I will be switching to them again when my stockers get a little more worn on my 08. Bottom line is I think the Pilot 4wd is fine with stock tires for 2 winters, then you need an upgrade ;)
Thanks for the all local feedback, I'll look into the XTerrains for first change.
i go up to tahoe 2-3 times a week during the winter season every year. even with the factory tires, i've had no problems with traction and have been pleased with the pilot's performance in snow.
kmaintl said:
VERY helpful posts, thanks! Both of you were are using STOCK (Highway All Season) tires, correct?

Love those photos, I was there the week after you posted the Tahoe photos, some heavy 2 days of snow during that week.
I have Michelins LTX M/S and I am happy with the performance (for all season). If I live there I'd get a set of snow tires.
I am glad you liked the pictures :p

Michal :4:
Here is another link to snow trip with pics
http://www.piloteers.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=23231

Michal :4:
Tahoe

We drove to Tahoe from San Diego during the 08 Christmas season and had no issues. I kept passing signs that said that chains are mandatory but since my Pilot has 4WD and M&S tires we weren't asked to put on our chains. It snowed 3-4 feet while we were there! My Pilot kept dissappearing into the snow bank and I had to shovel it out several times during my weeks stay. Great Experience...highly recommended.
7 winters going to Tahoe in a Pilot

My 2003 Pilot was purchased on New Year's Eve 2002 and was in the snow less than twelve hours later on the way to Kirkwood, CA which is elevation 7,800 feet and usually reports the deepest snow of any ski area in CA. On tne west side of CA-88 from Kirkwood is the avalanche-prone Carson Spur and between Kirkwood and South Lake Tahoe is 8,600 foot Carson Pass, which is the hightest pass in CA open in the winter, and lower Luther Pass. In the seven winters I've owned my Pilot, it has been to the Sierras 66 times (or 67 if you count both ways going to and from Utah when it was two weeks old). About ten of these trips have been on the summer, leaving 56 winter trips.

My second most memorable trip was before Christmas 2008 when I had Michelin LTX M/S installed on Saturday and drove to Kirkwood on Sunday. It was not supposed to storm until late Sunday, but we starting getting drizzle leaving Stockton. Going through Pine Grove, elevation 2500, the bank thermometers said 38 and 39 degrees so I thought it would be snowing at 4500-5000 feet, but it didn鈥檛 start until 6500-7000. After Silver Lake (elevation 7200), I saw a Tahoe that I think was going the other way, with its front end in the snowbank. Around the next turn, a Highlander and another vehicle going my way had stopped going forward and were slowly sliding sideways across the other lane into the bank. A lady warned me not to go and said that CalTrans was coming to sand the road. I rolled up my window and made sure I had room, then stayed to the right where there was more unplowed snow and cruised by at 10 mph without a problem. My 16 year-old son and his friend thought it was great.

After skiing, there was chain control on the way to South Tahoe 35 miles away. We followed a truck with chains going the 25 mph chain control speed limit over the pass where there was some snow on the road. Where chain control usually ended and the road was not totally covered, I pulled out to pass as I didn't want to spend another hour getting to the cabin. There was a 5th wheel trailer pulled over going the other way and I didn't realize there was a CHP behind him. The CHP waved me over, but I kept going and made him follow me about a mile to where it was safe to stop and I pulled over. Others cars were taking off their chains on the shoulder of the now mostly dry road. I was ticketed for going 44 in 25 mph chain control. I was able to beat the $280+ ticket using a trial by declaration, Either I wrote a better story or the cop did not write one.

My previous snow vehicle was an AWD Aerostar which did well at speed in the snow due to longer wheelbase although only having rear ABS was tricky. I got stuck twice in the Aerostar, once when I pulled over to let someone by in Tahoe Donner after 2-3 feet of snow fell and roads were not plowed and once when I high-centered on the berm getting into our cabin. I also got stuck in the Pilot in Heavenly's parking lot when more than a foot of snow fell during the day on top of more than two feet of snow than was mostly packed down by cars, not plowed. See
http://www.piloteers.org/forums/sho...=6696&perpage=15&highlight=tseeb&pagenumber=4 for that story which is my most memorable snow day in my Pilot.

Attached (if I remember how to do it here) are a couple of pictures of my Pilot parking at Kirkwood in March 2009.

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Second Kirkwood Mrch 2009 picture here

I had to borrow shovel from VW camper van to dig out to get into this parking place. No problem getting out. Snow was still soft.

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