Apr 7, 2023 - News

Little Cottonwood Canyon remains closed due to avalanche mitigation

Avalanche debris in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

Little Cottonwood Canyon's closure has entered its fifth day as a Utah Department of Transportation crew works to clear roads and remove avalanche debris from "unprecedented" snow storms.

  • The canyon is home to Snowbird and Alta ski resorts, which have each been forced to enter multiday interlodge, leaving local skiers and visitors stranded.

The latest: UDOT officials could not as of midday Thursday provide a timeline of when SR-210 will re-open.

  • On Thursday afternoon, Snowbird officials said another avalanche on Mt. Superior had crossed SR-210 and onto the resort's Chickadee Trail.

The big picture: It's the longest period the canyon has been closed in decades, UDOT spokesperson John Gleason told Axios Salt Lake City.

  • More than 30 avalanches have spilled into Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons collectively since March 28. Big Cottonwood Canyon re-opened Wednesday.
  • Despite the closure, dozens of eager skiers and snowboarders were camped out near the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday morning waiting for the green light to get to the slopes.

What they're saying: "Just because we finished the storm cycle, doesn't mean we're out of the avalanche hazards," Steven Clark, UDOT avalanche program manager, told reporters Thursday.

  • Clark said the abundance of snowfall has been "incredibly taxing" for maintenance workers and avalanche mitigation crews.
  • "We're working as hard as we can to make these roadways accessible and safe," he added.

Of note: A Snowbird spokesperson told Axios an estimated 1,500 people, including employees and guests, are stuck up the canyon.

  • Alta did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that an avalanche took place Thursday afternoon on Mt. Superior, not Mt. Olympus.


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