Trapped workers, guests grateful to leave Little Cottonwood Canyon

Apr 7, 2023, 1:32 PM

SALT LAKE CITYAfter days of being snowed in, guests up Little Cottonwood Canyon were able to make their way down from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday.

That time window ended with the road closed again to all traffic, with no estimated time for reopening.

“Six days, five nights,” said Daniel Galleguillos. 

That is how much time Galleguillos said he spent snowed in at Snowbird Resort as a housekeeping supervisor.

Rick Gates knows the feeling, too, having worked ski patrol at Snowbird.

“I am very glad to be down,” Gates said.

Guests and workers in the town of Alta and Snowbird have been under an interlodge since late Monday, minus a few hours Thursday morning, following an avalanche.

The avalanche started on Mt. Superior and crossed the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon, covering an area of Snowbird’s Chickadee run and leaving a big mess on the roads. 

No injuries after natural avalanche in Little Cottonwood forces Alta, Snowbird back into interlodge

With more than one thousand people snowed in, employees’ workload piled up.

“I mean the shifts, double shifts everyday. We’d sleep for just a few hours each day,” Galleguillos said.

Usually, he said his housekeeping team is made up of around 80 workers. Over the last few days, 15 of those workers have been pulling the load.

“We ran out of food. I mean, the last day is just… they are bringing in burgers and pancakes. That’s all they have,” Galleguillos said.

Gates’ ski patrol work at Snowbird also happened around the clock as they groomed trails to make sure runs weren’t buried. There was a plus side, though. 

“We got a couple days of country club skiing, just the people in the lodges and the employees that were up there,” Gates said. 

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Trapped workers, guests grateful to leave Little Cottonwood Canyon