Little Cottonwood Canyon Closed Until Thursday Morning At Earliest

Feb 17, 2021, 5:36 PM | Updated: 8:40 pm

SANDY, Utah – More than 80 inches of snow has fallen at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon over the last five days — much of that in the last 48 hours — and the canyon remained closed Wednesday night due to extreme avalanche danger.

State Route 210 shut down Monday night when the avalanche danger intensified and there is no estimate for when it will reopen.

Utah Department of Transportation crews spent most of Wednesday blasting areas with high avalanche danger, trying to make the canyon safe.

“A lot of snow, and it’s created a lot of instability in the snowpack causing extreme avalanche conditions,” said Shawn Lambert, a UDOT district manager who oversees plowing operations in that part of the county.

Crews spent another day blasting the snowpack, which forced slides down to the road. That kind of control work enabled avalanche crews to release the snow before it builds up to a dangerous depth.

“Once our crews deem that it’s safe to proceed, our maintenance crews will start clearing the snow and all of the avalanche debris,” Lambert said.

That will not happen until Thursday morning at the earliest. Prior to blasting the snowpack, UDOT avalanche crews witnessed a lot of avalanche activity in the canyon.

“Our folks that were up there this morning could hear the slides happening throughout the canyon,” said John Gleason, UDOT spokesman. “The risk of the avalanche, I don’t think it’s been greater. We’re seeing slides that are happening in areas that haven’t been hit in 40 years.”

That included a slide Wednesday morning that buried two UDOT employees. They were sitting in a truck, in an area they considered a safe zone when that avalanche let loose.

“The avalanche, it did broadside the vehicle and move the vehicle slightly. It buried it except for the passenger window, so they were able to egress that way.”

They were shaken up but were OK.

Approximately 1,500 people between Snowbird and Alta were stuck inside during the snowstorm.

“The overall feeling is one of anticipation, and I think excitement,” said Sarah Sherman, communications manager at Snowbird.

She went into “interlodge” lockdown with everyone else Monday night. That prohibits anybody from going outside because it is just too risky with the extreme avalanche danger.

“It’s snowing so much that you can’t go ski,” she said. “But there’s that anticipation that goes throughout it of when it ends and you do.”

People waited Wednesday night for that moment when they can go outside.

“Everybody is excited for the snow, and it’s something we’ve anticipated for a while. We just need to make sure that it’s safe so we can all get up there and enjoy it,” said Gleason.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park on Monday, Jan. 15, 2007....
 Logan Stefanich, KSL.com

Here’s why Garfield County wants to increase visitation to Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ during peak months

While droves of visitors pour into southern Utah every year to explore the state's "Mighty 5" national parks, one of those five is being left in the red dust, leading tourism officials to reimagine how and when they want to attract visitors.
15 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott visits Ogden Christmas Village

Casey Scott joined us at the Christmas Village in Ogden to get us in the Christmas spirit!
15 hours ago
Proch pirates and doorbell cameras...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt: Why you cannot rely on doorbell cameras to thwart porch pirates

Over a third of us have been hit by porch pirates in the past year according to a new study from ValuePenguin.com.
15 hours ago
Vincent's House of Goju in Magna, where 57-year-old Michael Vincent was shot and killed in July 202...
Kaitlyn Bancroft, KSL.com

Prison ordered for woman who shot and killed husband, but claimed self-defense

Cynthia Vincent, who shot her husband and claimed it was self-defense, was sentenced her to one to 15 years in prison for the July 2021 manslaughter death.
15 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Christina Rogers, Janeen Damian, Michael Damian, Brad Krevo...
Eliza Pace

Netflix’s ‘Falling for Christmas’ filmed at these charming Utah locations

Lindsay Lohan's "Falling for Christmas" movie may seem familiar - it's because it was shot in Utah!
15 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Little Cottonwood Canyon Closed Until Thursday Morning At Earliest