Every once in a while I get an email from someone that it thinking of moving here, and discovers my blog (thanks much). Their question often is: what's winter like in Cascade Shores???? Wellll, what winter? Winter 2012/2013, Mild. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being no snow, 5 being buried in snow for weeks, it was a 2. Winter of 2011/2012, as I recall, also a 2. Winter of 2010 I think was the 5, right up into March when we had 4feet on the ground, and the power was out for 12 days. In my memory, that was one of 3 bad winters I've experienced since I arrived here in 1999, so 13 winters.
That 3/13, not a bad batting average (well, a bad batting average, but a good average if you don't LOVE the snow).
It is significantly different in this canyon than in town. Nevada City proper sits at 2500 ft. elevation. As you travel up Red Dog and Banner Quaker Hill, the high point is 4100. Then you come down into the shores to 3400 at my corner (Banner Quaker and Pasquale). Of course there are some high points within the shores, like on Summit Ridge, which I am going to guess is back around 4000.
Sooo, it's like this: Leave town on a barely snowing day, (say Broad St) and by the time you reach Snowline St (yes, Snowline) it's getting pretty constant. Now you've made the turn off Red Dog onto Quaker Hill. Oh shit, it's really stacking up. Then you pass the Quaker Hill firehouse (on your left at Crystal Wells), which is the 4100 elevation, and you KNOW you've miscalculated, cause it's snowing like a B-iach and it's really to late to retreat. So now you're at the top of the Big Hill, and you say your prayers and start inching down, (OMG, I'm a gonna die). Finally you make it to where Quaker Hill levels out in the shores, and once again, it's barely snowing! Now if you have to travel up Summit Ridge to your home, you're gonna hit the big deep stuff again! It's all the part of the Cascade Shores experience. Of course, you can avoid some of that stress by taking Pasquale off Red Dog. Sure it's snaky, but you can take your time, and you don't get to 4100 and hit the big snow very often, and it's nice and level for the most part. Now mind you, unless it's an unusually big storm, there will still be barely any snow in town, while our snow will stay put for at least a few days.
How many days is the Big Hill closed? Not many. Roads is pretty good about keeping it clear and sanded. Our "dedicated" snow plow lives right here in the shores, and they begin plowing when we have 3" on the ground. If the yellow light at my corner is flashing, you really should avoid the hill (or the one at Red Dog/Pasquale) That means it is closed, and if you get sideways and need help, no tow truck will help you, and if Highway Patrol get's wind of it, you'll be cited for being on a closed road. Also, if you get sideways and someone coming up or down can't avoid you, well, you're S-O-L. To me it's just not worth it, but God knows there are plenty of people who like to challenge the hill. Sometimes they make it, sometimes they don't . . . . . .
Our first snow usually comes around Christmas Day, our last snow sometime in April. The biggest month is probably March. It's a good day when the kids don't have to go to school, and everyone is out shoveling, drinking hot drinks, watching the dogs run through the drifts. You can even cross country or snow shoe right out your door. They beauty of the woods in the snow is worth the price of admission.
The best part is that we rarely have wind down here, so no chill factor! Even on a 20 degree day, you can go out in comfortable clothes (don't need your arctic jacket) and work or play. Even my chihuahua's reject a coat most of the time. The ice on the street and wood decks can be treacherous!
Power outages? That depends of course. Power can be taken our by branches hitting lines, cars hitting poles, wires crossed or arcing. How quickly will it be restored? It obviously varies. If power is out in town too, know that we are at the end of the line, and we will be last to get reconnected. So sit back, build a fire, light some candles and enjoy the quiet. Move your perishables into a cooler out on your porch (take advantage of the cold) and break out a good book. Or turn on your generator and feel smug! It's up to you how inconvenienced you are. You might find it fun being unplugged for awhile. When I see the guys working on the pole across the street, I take them hot coffee and cookies to encourage them. They'll tell me the truth about how long, as opposed to the phone hotline that ALWAYS says 2 hours. Oh yeah, be sure to keep a plug in non-electronic phone on hand.
There is a weather blog on Cascadeshores.org, and if you are watching the news, pay more attention to Blue Canyon weather (on Hwy80) than Grass Valley. We are only a ridge away from Blue Canyon, and we have pretty much the same weather (more so than Nev City).
When it's not snowing, we have pretty much the same weather as Nevada City. temp wise, which is between 40-60 for the most part. Cold snaps of 20-32 are fairly short, and the rest of the time it's a pleasant range.
So, that's my take on "winter in the shores." Hope this has been helpful.
PS: A good reason to pay the $100 optional homeowners fee is you get a GREAT discount on Surburban Propane. That will help you stay warm and use your gas stove when the power does go out!