Think About Snow Before You Go

Thanksgiving week snow, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee November 2013


Recently I read about some young hikers that were rescued by helicopter from the Appalachian Trail nearby here. They were unprepared for snow, ice, and freezing temperatures and became stranded.

Don’t let this happen to you in your cabin rental in Pigeon Forge. Most rentals are independently owned, and are located in resort rental communities with homeowners’ associations. Some are located hillside in rural areas. Our local roads are regularly maintained, and pose no unusual issues under regular conditions.

Yet weather changes quickly in our hill and valley topography, and roads in higher elevations can have radically different conditions from those on the main artery Parkway. Some people from elsewhere laugh at the bread and milk runs to the store that occur here in Tennessee with predicted winter precipitation. Most local municipalities have adequate, but not substantial, equipment for road treatment. It does not make good fiscal policy to overspend for such, when inclement conditions are so infrequent, and ongoing continual snowfall does not exist.

Our bigger foe here is ice. Snow typically lasts from 2 to 4 days, if that. But wet weather and snow melt from mild daytime temperatures freezes overnight into black ice, a thin glossy layer that just appears wet, but is only suitable for skating. Often tree-lined, shady lanes, and areas where hillside runoff occurs can remain dangerously slick for days, when all else is completely dry. Add the factor of an incline, and it doesn’t take a physics major to see that your vehicle can easily become a very expensive Red Flyer sled. Trust us, an icy mountain road has zero in common with a flat, snowplowed road elsewhere.

Most rental communities have association-paid road clearing equipment for our infrequent snow conditions. But not all locations have it, and some rural roads have gravel drives, sharp turns and narrow widths. Roads are often steep and curvy to get to that home with the outstanding mountain views that everyone covets.

A rental company cannot guarantee your arrival or safety if you choose to traverse tough roads without proper equipment. Typically 4-wheel drive and chains are necessary, and even these may not be sufficient in icy conditions.

So, know before you go. If winter weather is a possibility, bring a proper vehicle for mountain climbing, with extras like chains, sand and other appropriate emergency items. If you have questions regarding your specific reservation and the road policies of its location, please call our guest services before you arrive with any issues you would like to discuss. We are glad to help you plan all the details. Neither of us wants your next trip to be delayed, derailed, or inadvertently extended by a beautiful mountain snowfall.

Don’t be caught mountainside in the proverbial tee shirt and sneakers, call us at Volunteer Cabin Rentals today.

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