Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons to close for avalanche control work

Mar 8, 2023, 10:25 PM
Snow covers the trees and mountains with paths for skiers....
FILE: Snow blanketed through Big Cottonwood Canyon attracted many skiers and snowboarders this weekend. (Chopper 5, KSL-TV)
(Chopper 5, KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — UDOT will be closing down both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, with Little Cottonwood Canyon shutting down overnight Wednesday into Thursday for avalanche control work.

John Gleason, public relations director for UDOT, explained Wednesday evening that they’re taking extra precautions ahead of this weekend’s incoming storm.

While Little Cottonwood Canyon closures have become the norm this winter, it’s not as often UDOT decides to shut down Big Cottonwood.

Gleason explained that BCC doesn’t have as many slide paths as LCC, but because they’re approaching record snowfall in the canyons, they’re concerned about one specific section that could slide and potentially send snow across the road.

That area, Gleason said, is called the Stairs Gulch area and is in the lower third portion of BCC. Thursday morning, UDOT will shut down SR 190, send up a helicopter, and the avalanche mitigation team will drop explosives from the sky.

“This is an area that doesn’t see slides very often that would hit the road, but we want to use extra caution,” he said. “And it’s more of a measuring stick of the snowpack, before the big storm comes in this weekend.”

Gleason explained that up Little Cottonwood, their team will use the howitzer and explosives as they have all winter for avalanche mitigation.

Little Cottonwood closed at 10 pm Wednesday night. Big Cottonwood will close at 8 am Thursday morning. UDOT is hoping to reopen everything at 8:30 am.

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Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons to close for avalanche control work