KINGVALE, Calif. (CBS13) – It may look like fun and games, but Caltrans and CHP officials say playing in the snow just off the freeway is dangerous and illegal.
“It creates a traffic hazard for the people traveling the interstate and the employees of Caltrans trying to clear the road,” said Greg De Alba, Caltrans Donner Pass Superintendent.
Not too far from the Kingvale rest stop, is a not-so-secret spot for snowy slopes tucked away under Interstate 80.
“It’s a secluded little area that’s good for families and there’s no lines that you have to deal with,” said Christina Streck, visiting from Rancho Cordova. “Parking’s a little tricky, but it’s worth it.”
But Caltrans says parking on the shoulder of the road is against the law.
“It doesn’t look too illegal to me,” said Gavin Morgan. “I see plenty of people right there!”
But De Alba says that false sense of security is part of the problem.
“I drive there and I see people sliding down in the pond and I’m just like ‘Oh my gosh!’” De Alba said. “Having kids and adults playing on the side of the road is very unsafe.”
Cars blocking the shoulder of the roads creates a big hazard for Caltrans in the event of an emergency.
“I don’t think it’s much of a distraction,” Morgan said.
But that’s just the mentality that’ll get you a ticket from CHP. So where can you go?
“We just pulled off the road here because we saw a bunch of people.”
But the better option?
“The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the signs, look for the snow flake or the snow play signs and follow those,” De Alba said.
Families can find snow play zone along Interstate 80, like the Kingvale Snow Park, which is open every day until 6 p.m. all the way up to January 6.
Here’s a list of California’s Sno-Parks: