Skiers Head Home After Canyon Closure Lifted

Jan 22, 2019, 2:12 PM

ALTA, Utah – Skiers and snowboarders forced to shelter in place overnight at resorts due to a canyon closure on state Route 210 were able to return home early Tuesday.

Little Cottonwood Canyon reopened to a line of vehicles just before 8 a.m. after a closure that lasted nearly 24 hours. The canyon was hit hard by Monday’s snow storm, and a natural avalanche occurred following several controlled avalanches up and down the canyon.

Both Alta and Snowbird went into interlodge lockdown at various points during the night, which meant employees and guests were not allowed to leave the buildings for their own safety.

The Utah Department of Transportation initially shut the canyon down at approximately 10 a.m. Monday in order to blast for avalanches. However, when the roads were opened to downward traffic, a small natural avalanche occurred and forced the overnight closures.

“I just slept on a couch, basically,” said Brenden Walsh, who was among those interlodged at Snowbird.

Isaiah Goedecke, a Snowbird employee, also had to buckle down for the night along with all of his co-workers.

“My boss got us a room,” he said. “I had to share a room with four other guys. It was fun, but (we) had a good night and made the best of it.”

As for those heading up the mountain Tuesday morning before sunrise, some said they are excited to hit the snow, but they aren’t going without their avalanche beacons, and they plan to stay within bounds.

Avalanche dangers remain for several canyons including Salt Lake, Provo and the Uintas, according to utahvalanchecenter.org.

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Skiers Head Home After Canyon Closure Lifted