Both Cottonwood canyons closed Wednesday as lake-effect snow hits Wasatch Front

Apr 5, 2023, 6:56 AM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 2:45 pm

The Cottonwood canyons will not open Wednesday due to avalanche danger. (UDOT/Twitter)...

The Cottonwood canyons will not open Wednesday due to avalanche danger. (UDOT/Twitter)


BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation said both Little and Big Cottonwood canyons will not open Wednesday as crews continue avalanche mitigation work.

UDOT tweeted that helicopter mitigation work is ongoing and road crews are working to clear debris from the road along state Route 190 in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

“This amount of snow is unprecedented. All are working slowly and methodically to ensure the safety of all travelers,” UDOT officials tweeted Wednesday morning.

No time for when either canyon will reopen was given. All four Cottonwood resorts — Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude — said they would be closed for the day as well.

University of Utah meteorologist Jim Steenburgh, known as Professor Powder on Twitter, said the avalanche risk level on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road is higher than any major road in the county.

State Route 210, which runs up Little Cottonwood, was also closed Monday and Tuesday as crews worked to reduce the risk of slides coming down and hitting the road during a record-setting snowpack year.

“There’s nothing to stop these avalanches from hitting the highway,” Steenburgh said. “People will say that the slide paths are greased… everything’s buried. There’s no trees, no rocks to break these things up, and so they’re just running right to the road.”

UDOT will work with Alta and Snowbird to get food trucks up the mountain as soon as possible.

The cleanup efforts come as bands of lake-effect snow brought slick and icy road conditions to parts of the Wasatch Front during Wednesday morning’s commute.

Multiple crashes were reported on Interstate 15, leading to northbound delays near Point of the Mountain in Lehi and southbound slowdowns between Provo and Spanish Fork.

Warmer weather on the way

KSL Chief Meteorologist Kevin Eubank said snow will linger through midday Wednesday and move out by the afternoon. The rest of the week looks warmer and dryer with highs bouncing into the 60s in the north and 70s and 80s across the south.


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Both Cottonwood canyons closed Wednesday as lake-effect snow hits Wasatch Front