UDOT helicopter crew lowers avalanche danger across Cottonwood canyons

Jan 12, 2023, 3:16 PM | Updated: 3:30 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Lots of snow this winter means Utah Department of Transportation workers are having to do a lot of extra work in keeping the Cottonwood canyons safe from avalanche danger.

On Thursday morning, there was a very brief closure of Big Cottonwood Canyon — a longer one in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Wednesday — as mitigation work was done by helicopter.

While all of the new snow is a good thing for several reasons, we can expect more of the same in the coming weeks.

As you pass through the canyon for your next ski trip, it’s easy to take for granted the clear roads and safer mountainsides.

“The last couple of weeks in the canyon, we’ve just been getting so much snow,” said John Gleason, UDOT spokesperson.

As Gleason pointed out, this kind of work has to be done to avoid more dangerous, naturally-occurring avalanches, even though on Thursday, it wasn’t quite what they expected.

UDOT performs avalanche mitigation work in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Jan. 11, 2023. (UDOT)

“As it is right now, we didn’t get a lot of results, which is a good thing, because it means that the snowpack is stable and that we’re not going to have any issues up there,” he said.

But Wednesday, they did set off some much bigger activity — snow that plow crews later had to clear from the road.

While it may not look that way from a distance, charges are placed in carefully chosen spots because a planned avalanche is often better than the unexpected.

“And so, we have to do everything we can to make sure that the roads are safe, because there are so many people that are trying to get up there to enjoy themselves: skiing and snowboarding.”

(KSL Chopper 5) (KSL Chopper 5)

Gleason said we should be prepared for those delays, too.

Delays like the one that occurred more than week ago can take some time. Be patient and understand it’s for safer conditions ahead.

The UDOT spokesperson said crews were able to trigger about three to four slides in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Wednesday — one of them measured 13-feet deep.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Terrie Ladwig, 28, who was found in her Concord, California apartment dead on Dec. 2, 1994. (Concor...
Pat Reavy

Utah truck driver arrested in California cold case from 1994

A truck driver in Utah was arrested last week in connection with the Northern California cold case killing of a woman in 1994.
14 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Tamara Vaifanua

Financial tips to prepare for having kids

Having kids can be exciting, but it requires a lot of financial planning. Here are some smart money moves for new and expecting parents.
14 hours ago
Unsheltered individuals seek warmth in the makeshift warming tent provided by advocates during bitt...
Ashley Fredde

County opens warming center after Salt Lake homeless advocates build unsanctioned tent

Temperatures became dangerously low across the state, making people without housing particularly vulnerable.
14 hours ago
(File) Police Lights responding to a scene....
Eliza Pace

Two employees dead at Northrop Grumman Magna facility

Two employees are dead at the Northrop Grumman facility.
14 hours ago
Eliza Pace

Hawaii family safe after boulder crashes through home

A woman is safe after a very close call with a boulder crashing through her home in Honolulu.
14 hours ago
(Salt Lake City Police Department/Twitter)...
Shelby Lofton and Josh Ellis, KSL TV

1 dead, 1 injured after two auto-pedestrian crashes at same SLC intersection

Police say one person has died following an auto-pedestrian crash near 1200 West and 600 North.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
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.
UDOT helicopter crew lowers avalanche danger across Cottonwood canyons