LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Alta interlodge for Little Cottonwood Canyon has been lifted after three days. Officials have deemed it safe for travelers and locals to drive up and down the canyon.
Video footage shows an avalanche control helicopter drop an explosive onto the mountainside, triggering slides in those hard-to-reach areas.
“Haven’t seen another time where avalanche potential has been as great as it is. And the number of slides happening both naturally and through our control work is staggering,” said John Gleason, a Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson.
While some avalanches were created by officials, others were not.
“They’re not just snow. We’re talking about debris, mud, rocks, trees, in the road. So, it’s been a pretty intense effort to get the road cleared,” Gleason said.
With heavy snowfall and concern for public safety, a record-breaking interlodge had been in place for nearly 60-hours.
“What a relief. It’s nice to see everybody coming, and it’s nice to see everybody going. And get up there and enjoy the ski hill safely. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do is make that road safe,” said Unified Police Department Detective Lee Arnold, who spent recent days helping keep drivers from going up the canyon.
Now, locals and travelers stuck for nearly 60-hours are being able to come down.
“That’s the number one priority. Getting those people down. Those people who haven’t been able to leave the canyon for the last 48-72 hours. Just so they can get down and get some of the supplies that they need or, people have planes to catch,” Gleason said.
Ski resorts are also open again, but the back country remains off-limits, according to Arnold.