Frequently Asked Questions–Snow Removal

Does Elements shovel decks, walkways, roofs or propane tanks?

Elements Mtn Co concentrates its efforts exclusively on driveway snow removal. We would be glad to provide you with the names of reliable businesses who provide these services.

What happens if I sell my house during the winter?

If you sell your house mid-winter, we ask that you prorate the snow removal fee within escrow (as you do with homeowner’s dues, taxes, etc.). Simply mention to your escrow agent or realtor that you have pre-paid for snow removal and they will arrange to have the unused portion of the season returned to you in escrow. If this is not possible, we will gladly prorate your fee and return the unused portion.

How soon should I sign up for snow removal?

Truthfully, your early commitment is greatly appreciated. Your early commitment allows us to begin estimating equipment, supplies and personnel for the upcoming winter season. It ensures that your driveway will be properly staked in October and then cleared completely throughout the season. It also allows our snow removal operators to view your driveway when it is free of snow during their pre-seaon route familiarization training.

How many clearings do I get for my seasonal fee?

Homeowners receive unlimited driveway clearings from October 15th until April 30th when snowfall reaches a depth of 4″ or more.

Do I need to call Elements before I come to Tahoe Donner?

It is not necessary to call ahead of time. Elements Mtn Co clears all of its driveways each time it snows, whether the home is occupied or not.

What if I have a doctor’s appointment or a plane to catch?

In emergency situations we will do all we can to help you meet your commitments. But please remember that we are providing snow removal for approximately 90 additional homeowners on your route. Please give us a call the day before you need to be out and we will do all we can to accommodate your needs.

If your driveway has been cleared and you are restricted from exiting by a Town of Truckee berm, we ask that you use a shovel or snowblower to clear a path for your exit. We will return to clear the balance of the berm.

Should I wait for my driveway to be cleared before trying to get out?

Waiting is not necessary. Please feel free to drive over the snow in your driveway and don’t let us hold you up. We’ll be there shortly. Most homeowners have vehicles that are capable of navigating pretty deep snow. But please know the capabilities of your vehicle and don’t attempt to exit your driveway if you think there is a strong chance that you may get stuck.

Can I expect my driveway to be free of snow all the time?

Elements Mtn Co guarantees one driveway clearing per 24-hour period when we receive 4″ of snow or more. If it snows after we have cleared your driveway we will clear this snow from your driveway the following day. We suggest that you consider purchasing a snowblower in addition to contracting with a snow removal service if you want the security of knowing that you can get into and out of your house at any given time.

What if I have difficulty because of my steep driveway?

Unfortunately, some homes have been built without seriously considering winter access. Though Elements Mtn Co will do all it can to maintain access to and from your home, it cannot be responsible for the lack of accessibility due to steep up sloping or down sloping driveways, or accessibility problems caused by vehicles not well suited for winter conditions or unfamiliarity with winter driving. Elements Mtn Co suggests that homeowners with difficult driveways or driveways that have poor sun exposure or are susceptible to icing maintain a supply of ice melt or sand.

What if it’s snowing continuously, there’s 1-2’ in my driveway, the Town of Truckee snowplow has not come by yet, and I want to get out and head home?

It is up to you to determine if it is safe to proceed on the roadways or better to stay at home until weather and road conditions improve. Please be aware of your vehicle’s capabilities and limitations. We encourage homeowners to proceed through any amount of snow that their vehicle can safely handle. However, under some conditions it may be wise to remain inside your home until Elements Mtn Co clears your driveway and Town of Truckee clears the roadway.

What if Elements damages my house or driveway?

Home damage is an infrequent but unfortunate byproduct of working in confined areas and in foul weather. We take responsibility for our mistakes and will repair damage to your property caused by our negligence. Elements Mtn Co is not responsible for chain marks, scratches or gouges resulting from normal snow removal operations, nor will be responsible for driveway damage resulting from poor construction, driveways that sink due to a saturated base or poor compaction. Elements Mtn Co is also not responsible for damage to property left in, constructed or placed adjacent to the driveway that is not clearly visible to the operator and properly marked by the homeowner.

What if someone else’s car is parked in my driveway when you try to clear it?

If we are able to identify who is parking in your driveway, we will politely ask them to move their vehicle. We will also inform them that you have paid for a seasonal snow removal contract and that they are obstructing your driveway’s snow removal. If we cannot identify the owner of the car, our operator can only clear that portion of the driveway that he or she can access.

If you know that a neighbor is continually parking in your driveway during snow storms, please ask them to park in their driveway and explain that it obstructs the service you have paid for.

Why is there snow in front of my garage door?

Wet, heavy snow and/or warm ground temperature turns the base layer of snow into a slushy mess. This wet base layer tends to push out in front of the snowblower as the tractor proceeds in towards your garage door. When conditions are right (or wrong) snow rides on top of the slushy base layer and is not processed readily into the snowblower. Our operators are familiar with these conditions and do their best to minimize the snow deposited in front of your garage door.

What should I do if one of my snowstakes has been knocked over?

First, please try to reinstall the snowstake yourself. If it is not possible to reinstall it, please notify us and we will send someone out to fix it. Please allow about one week from the time of notification to the time we fix the snowstake.

Does Elements stake my driveway?

Yes. Staking your driveway is included in your annual snow removal fee. We provide and install the snow stakes at the beginning of the season and removal them at the end of the season. We start installing snow stakes in early October and begin removing them in mid to late April.

How do you determine my snow removal price?

Your price is determined by the size, slope and location of your driveway. Large driveways, driveways with steep upslopes or downslopes, driveways in high snow areas and/or driveways that are prone to snow drifts may be priced higher than other Tahoe Donner driveways.

How close can you get to my garage door?

In most cases, our small tractors can safely maneuver within 12 ” to 18 ” inches of your garage door, car, stairs and/or entry. Our operators will remove snow from around these areas to the best of their ability. However, they may decide that the potential for damage to your property does not warrant the risk of removing a few more inches of snow. Metal garage doors are particularly susceptible to damage, therefore we tend to approach metal garage doors with caution and sometimes stay farther away when the snow is wet and heavy.

Is the Town of Truckee responsible for clearing my berm?

The Town of Truckee does not remove the berms that they create when clearing the roads. The task of clearing the berm is the responsibility of your snow removal service or homeowner.

What if the Town of Truckee berms me in after Elements has cleared my driveway?

Elements Mtn Co guarantees homeowners one driveway clearing per 24-hour period. If the Town of Truckee berms appear to be unusually large, Elements Mtn Co will make every effort to return and clear them. However, we may not return until the following day and you may have to remove the berm yourself.

What is your policy on berm removal?

For a number of reasons it is difficult to coordinate our residential snow removal routes with the Town of Truckee’s road snow plowing crews. During snow clearing shift our staff monitors the Town of Truckee’s road plowing and evaluates the size of berms and their potential difficulty to homeowners. Based on our observations Elements Mtn Co decides whether or not the berms are a significant hindrance to homeowners and whether they should be cleared immediately or during the next snowclearing shift. However, there are times when we are not able to return the same day because of operator fatigue, heavy snowfall or slow road clearing response from the Town.

Why do you often clear driveways in the middle of the night?

We clear driveways in the middle of the night whenever possible is because there is very little traffic on the roadways at this time. The lack of cars on the roads significantly reduces our chances of vehicular accidents. Our tractors are constantly backing out of driveways onto the roadway. Operating during the middle of the night allows us to work quickly and without the risk or delays of vehicular traffic.

What time will you begin snow removal?

Elements Mtn Co will begin snow removal operations when snowfall reaches a depth of approximately 4″ in Tahoe Donner. Therefore, the timing of snow removal may vary from day to day. However, Elements Mtn Co tries to begin its snow removal operations between 1:00a.m. – 3:00a.m., with our routes taking about six to eight hours to complete. Because of the unpredictability and severity of the weather, we cannot guarantee that we will arrive at your house at a set time every day.

Rather than use a seasonal contract, can we have our driveway cleared on an as-needed basis?

Sure. ‘Will-Calls’ are part of Elements Mtn Co’s business also. ‘Will-Calls’ cost a minimum of $150 per clearing. However, just like a seasonal snow removal quote, the fee is based on driveway size and slope. In addition, the price of a ‘Will-Call’ is based on the amount of snow in the driveway.

Most people prefer the seasonal contract as the break-even point is only four to five clearings. A homeowner or their guests could easily use a couple of those clearings on a snowy weekend. Additionally, homeowners that use the “Will-Call” method routinely find that a layer of sheet ice has formed under their driveway’s unplowed snow.

What is the purpose of having a snow removal service?

Upon arriving for a weekend getaway, homeowners rarely want to tackle a three foot berm and two feet of snow in their driveway. Similarly, full-time residents enjoy not having to clear their driveways before going to work or after returning home. Snow removal companies take on the burden of clearing your driveway and provide you access into and out of your home.

Why should we choose Elements for snow removal service?

Elements Mtn Co is Tahoe Donner’s most innovative and progressive snow removal service, offering homeowners better snow removal and more value for their dollar. Our staff has the operational, mechanical and administrative experience necessary to offer Tahoe Donner homeowners a prompt, reliable and superior snow removal service.