SageBrush wrote:Personally I'll take safety over a little inconvenience hands down. <snip>
Again, that's easy to say in Colorado, where winter temps remain low enough for true winter tires to be safe to use the entire season. But for most Californians, that's a poor option even if you don't mind swapping tires (and have the room to store them). For example, Mammoth is a 5 hour drive from my home, and it will take me at least 2.5 hours to get to a high enough elevation where winter tires will not be a handicap. Big Bear is only 2 hours away, but even Big Bear can get into the 60's in the winter.
For Bay Area people wanting to go to Tahoe, you'll need to get at least as far as Placerville on US 50, or well east of Auburn on I-80, for the temperature to drop enough to a winter tire's ideal temperature range.
Yup, Colfax (2,420', 135 miles from S.F. Donner Summit ski resorts are about 170, and Truckee is 185) is about as far down as the snow line usually gets, and typically it's further east at Baxter (3,891'), Blue Canyon (4,695'), Kingvale (6,118') or even beyond. If it's snowing at the resorts, it's often raining most of the way there, and you're traveling a lot faster in the rain than you are on snow-covered roads. So, which is more dangerous, driving 135-165 miles in rain on winter tires on the occasional ski trip (plus all the rest of the time in the rain) and 5-50 miles on snow, or doing that on all-seasons? For me, all-seasons are the safer choice - I and everyone around me isn't driving 60-65 mph on snow, but we are on wet roads when all-season tires provide better grip than winter tires. I'll happily trade avoiding a 30 mph crash on a snowy road, if it means I can avoid a 60+ mph crash on a rainy one.
Put me in a location where snow is on the roads for most of the winter as is presumably the case with Sagebrush, and my choice would be the same as his.