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California: Nervous driving in snow? Try the snow chain concierge

November 29, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Wuksachi Lodge at Sequoia National Park keeps a snow chain concierge on hand for guests who need help with the winter task.
Wuksachi Lodge at Sequoia National Park keeps a snow chain concierge on… (Delaware North Companies…)

Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park offers fair-weather guests a nice perk every winter: the services of a snow chain concierge.

OK, the title sounds a bit grandiose, but who cares when there's someone to drive down to snow level and perform the dreaded task.

"We have a lot of guests who haven't had the experience and pleasure of being in snow," lodge general manager Joe St. Laurent says. Translation: Folks flip out at the prospect of driving in snow and having to put chains on their tires. And, as of Wednesday, it was snowing at the park, with more expected this weekend.

St. Laurent says he sends out the snow chain concierge about five to eight weekends during a typical winter. So what qualities make for an appropriate concierge? "People get stressed out, so someone who's calm ... and keeps guests in good spirits," St. Laurent says.

The concierge is dispatched to meet guests wherever the snow level begins and chains are required, sometimes right at the southern entrance to the park on Highway 198. The service is available free to guests and $20 for anyone else heading into the national park between noon and 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The service also is available at the lodge for outbound guests starting at 8 a.m. Sunday.

By the way, it's mandatory to carry tire chains in snow country per the California Vehicle Code, and road signs will tell you when you must put them on your car. If you don't have them on the way in, you'll have to backtrack and find a place to buy them. Wuksachi sells them at the lodge, but that won't help if you are in-bound.
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