Little Cottonwood Canyon Reopens After Two-Day Closure
Feb 8, 2020, 7:13 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm
ALTA, Utah – Locals and visitors at Snowbird and Alta ski resorts were finally able to leave as crews reopened Little Cottonwood Canyon after a two-day closure due to avalanches.
Officials closed state Route 210 on Thursday and three slides hit the canyon Friday morning during extreme avalanche danger conditions.
Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson John Gleason said one slide near the Snowbird entrance was eight or nine feet deep and one video showed a slide covering cars at Alta.
WOW! Check out this avalanche video at Alta courtesy of Mac Charvala.Little Cottonwood Canyon will remain CLOSED Friday and officials with UDOT did not give an estimated opening time.(Video: Mac Charvala)
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Friday, February 7, 2020
On Saturday, some of those who were stuck began to dig their cars out of multiple feet of snow.
“I think it’s taken a beating today. But it works,” said Nate Potter with a laugh, as he held a somewhat-broken shovel.
Potter was helping his friend dig out her partially buried car from a parking lot.
“Do you want me to clear off the windshield?” Potter asked her as she started the car and backed out of her spot.
I haven’t seen this much snow in Alta since… I can’t remember. Little Cottonwood Canyon was opened at noon today. It had been closed the past two days because of avalanche danger.￼
There was so much snow in Little Cottonwood Canyon after the last storm that for some, a shovel wasn’t going to be good enough.
“Don’t tell my boss. I’m not supposed to have it,” said Sam Wolfe with a laugh as he tried to clear snow from around his pickup truck.
Wolfe, a chef at an Alta hotel, was one of many allowed to go outside Saturday morning.
Extreme avalanche dangers kept people inside lodges at Snowbird or Alta for the past two days.
“I’ve been here 25 years and I don’t remember that, being closed for two days in a row,” said Andria Hoskinson, Alta Ski Area spokesperson. “I know there have been days where they have closed for that long, but it’s been a lot of years.”
Good thing these drivers at Alta left their wipers up. That way they don’t freeze to the windshield. pic.twitter.com/X6jA3W8Qo4
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) February 8, 2020
No one was allowed up or down after several avalanches crossed SR 210 Friday, and the resorts remained closed while crews did avalanche control work.
“It’s all about safety,” said Unified Police Sergeant Ed Twohill. “Remember, it was just, what, about three weeks ago when we had a car hit by a slide coming down. We don’t want to see that again.”
Around noon, though, UDOT crews determined conditions were safe enough to open the road.
As people went up the canyon, they saw snow covering homes and cars and enough big piles to almost make a third ski resort here.
“This is the biggest we’ve ever come into,” said Kathy Ogsbury, who lives in Denver and said she has been skiing at Alta every year for the past 44 years.
However, she was one of many stuck at the top of the mountain when the canyon closed and missed three potential flights back home.
Even still, she said it was fun to talk with others staying in the lodges.
“Oh yeah, we had fun. Lots of eating. Now we’d like to get out and go home,” she said with a laugh as she got onto a shuttle bus.
It had been a long two days for a lot of people.
“Yeah, it’s been an adventure,” Potter said.
However, those stuck at the top had the resorts all to themselves for a few hours before the canyon was opened.
It was a little reward before the crowds returned.
Little Cottonwood Canyon is now open.
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Saturday, February 8, 2020