Snoqualmie Pass During Winter

Ian Horning

Powerbait Entomologist
As some have eluded to, driving the pass in heavy rain or super wet road conditions can be more dangerous than when it's icy and snowing. I've had a few super sketchy drives over the pass in heavy rain... whether it's the clouds of water being kicked up by the other cars or the standing water on the road near the summit, it can be downright tough to see anything if it's really wet out, and everyone else that isn't in a lifted truck is experiencing the same thing... just gotta be careful.
 

Zak

WFF Premium
Whoops, wrong thread. Deleted.
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210129_005819750.jpg
    PXL_20210129_005819750.jpg
    223.4 KB · Views: 14

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
I have driven the pass for over 20 years to see relatives on the eastern side. Year round.

Others have given you excellent advice. Make sure you have chains, even in a Subie. My sons outback required sock style chains due to clearance issues with the suspension/drivetrain.

Don’t continue if it feels to sketchy . I am a very confident snow driver as I was a ski enthusiast and drove myself thru snow since getting my drivers license. But I have made a few trips across that u should have waited out. Biggest clue to wait things out can be when you see chains required. My most memorable slides occurred when I was chained up, but tires got jerked into different ruts. Had I waited an few hours the ruts would have been plowed away.

awd cars stop no better than 2 wd. They loll you into thinking you can go faster because you do not feel the drama of tires spinning and car getting squirly as you accelerate. I have driven fwd, rear wheel drive, 4wd and awd vehicles in the worst conditions. By far my favorite is the awd because of car like handling without the truck like solid rear axle on big suv.
 
Last edited:

Ron McNeal

Let's Go Brandon!!
Just to clarify, I'm not planning to go this week; too much snow on the forecast, as others have highlighted. This is more of a general thing. It looks like my local river is closed until May. I'm going to be bored as shit, unless I get used to driving over the pass!

I will buy some tire socks, just in case. I'll also take some basic supplies, in case I get stranded for a few hours.
Sign up to receive road condition reports/emails from the State. I'm amazed at how often they're sending out updates about accidents and road conditions,
 

landlocked

Active Member
I used to winter drive it in a 72 Ford Courier then an ‘86-Z28. 2 of the worst performing snow vehicles in history! If you’ve got a Suburu, prepare per earlier posts, take your time, drive defensively and make good choices, you’ll be fine!
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I agree that the poor visibility in rain is as bad or worse than most snow conditions. I’ve been over I-90 many times in all the good and bad conditions. Waiting it out can often be the right decision. It can also mean a leisurely breakfast while you wait for the pass to warm up and melt out a bit. Or you can wait for plows to do their thing. “Stuck behind a plow” is not a problem to bitch about, it’s probably the safest, steadiest way to boogie.

Bare and dry is the only thing better than bare and wet. Compacted snow isn’t too bad if it isn’t raining, you just go slower and COMMIT to one lane. Climbing over the slush ruts is super hazardous without narrow, sharp snow tires.

Compacted snow with rain is a bad time....ridiculously easy to lose traction.

Road surface temperature is key, and remember that they salt the piss out of the road, so it will be wet as opposed to icy if you’re right around freezing temps and starting from a plowed surface.

Definitely skid your rig around a safe, empty lot to see how you can lose and regain traction and steering.
 

gt

Active Member
put some winter tires on your vehicle, Blizzak are my choice. they are great in the rain and bad weather we have all winter long. running summer tires is not a great idea in the PNW on any vehicle.

my daughter finally put them on her AWD and goes up skiing on Snoqualmie every weekend.
 

O' Clarkii Stomias

Active Member
put some winter tires on your vehicle, Blizzak are my choice. they are great in the rain and bad weather we have all winter long. running summer tires is not a great idea in the PNW on any vehicle.

my daughter finally put them on her AWD and goes up skiing on Snoqualmie every weekend.
Blizzard are the shit!
 

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
I agree that the poor visibility in rain is as bad or worse than most snow conditions. I’ve been over I-90 many times in all the good and bad conditions. Waiting it out can often be the right decision. It can also mean a leisurely breakfast while you wait for the pass to warm up and melt out a bit. Or you can wait for plows to do their thing. “Stuck behind a plow” is not a problem to bitch about, it’s probably the safest, steadiest way to boogie.

Bare and dry is the only thing better than bare and wet. Compacted snow isn’t too bad if it isn’t raining, you just go slower and COMMIT to one lane. Climbing over the slush ruts is super hazardous without narrow, sharp snow tires.

Compacted snow with rain is a bad time....ridiculously easy to lose traction.

Road surface temperature is key, and remember that they salt the piss out of the road, so it will be wet as opposed to icy if you’re right around freezing temps and starting from a plowed surface.

Definitely skid your rig around a safe, empty lot to see how you can lose and regain traction and steering.
I agree to the COMMIT to one lane. Great advice. Especially with more wide low profile tires that are popular on many cars now. The reason why you want to stay in one lane is due to the ruts. When you change lanes, you are risking one or more tires getting caught snd forcing you into a rodeo ride you did not bargain for. (This has happened to me multiple times in 42 seasons of driving in snow. Just lucky I never hit anything solid, yet. I have seen others do same thing, not a fun ride at all)

One of the more scary parts of driving the pass is multiple lanes allow people to travell much faster than their skill level allows. Not much you can do if they loose contol and hit you from the rear or sideswipe you. But you can contol your distance between you and the vehicles in front of you. Minimum 4 seconds.

For example, I was committed to the second from right lane going West just past the ski area. Another car was following me in the lane to my left pacing about the same speed. A bmw m series SUV passed the car behind me, ran right up in my bumper then passed on my right. There was a big gas truck and trailer in the lane ahead at least 5 seconds ahead of me. I could see the bmw had super wide, low profile tires. As he passed I eased up to give him room to merge. He sped up as he passed me and the large semi gas truck ahead of me. He Immediately cut in front of the semi. One of his tires caught a rut and threw his car at an approx 45 degree angle with the gas truck bearing down on his passenger side. I felt fortunate to be far enough behind to only watch and not get collected up in the drama .

The gas tanker driver had nerves of steel, he did not hit the brakes or swerve. I am assuming the bmw had stability control because after what seemed like an eternity the bmw straightened out, hit the gas and continued at 50 plus mph. Most cars were traveling under 35 and trucks were creeping slower than that in the right lane.

We are not trying to scare you into not driving the pass. The WSDOT does an excellent job of clearing the road. Mother Nature can easily make roads deteriorate much faster than even modern snow removal crews can deal with.


Central and Eastern WA sometimes get dry, fluffy snd cold snow in the middle of winter. There is nothing better than driving a low traffic road the morning after a powder snow storm.

Once you get experience with how to safely navigate your car through sketchy snow situations you may find it enjoyable. I do.
 
Last edited:

Old Man

A very Old Man
One time Flybill and me wanted to go fish RFC. We went over Snoqualmie pass on the way there and had to come home over Stevens Pass because of the Snoqualmie Pass was closed. We got over the pass and they closed it down also. It was dark and windy on the creek and the fishing sucked.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Mr. oconnor - a lot of good advice. Several times we've simply gotten a hotel on the west side when east bound - getting into stop and go traffic before you get to North Bend is an indicator that there is a problem. The advice to just stop and pullover - hmmmmm, not fun getting stuck 1 mile from the summit and waiting and waiting and waiting and then the pass closes.

I didn't know there was a category for chains required on AWD and 4X4. That's time for a hotel or stay home.

Whatever tires you do run on your Subaru, make sure they're not worn out. A subie with worn tires isn't much of a subie.
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top