SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Travel along State Road 210 through Little Cottonwood Canyon opened on Thursday afternoon, after a prolonged closure that saw limited travel since Monday.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) said the weather was in their favor and avalanche hazards have been reduced allowing crews to work hard to open the canyon.
UDOT is warning travelers to watch for black ice as well as any heavy equipment or avalanche debris such as rocks and logs that may still be in the area. Travelers should also be prepared for road closures at any time for the remainder of the season.
This is the first time Little Cottonwood Canyon has been fully open since one last heavy winter storm slammed the state at the start of April. Since then, the canyon had been closed to travelers, only opening temporarily during brief windows for downhill travel out of the mountains.
While the canyon has been closed, UDOT crews have been working to clean up the roads of avalanches and debris since the storm. UDOT has said conditions in the canyon are unprecedented, thanks to a record-breaking deep snowpack and an unpredictable spring. The pair have made for extreme avalanche danger which the department is constantly monitoring.
With the opening of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta Ski Area and Snowbird are expected to be open for normal operations for the weekend, though warming temperatures on Sunday could put operations in jeopardy once again.
Currently, avalanche danger in the Salt Lake area is low, according to the Utah Avalanche Center. The center said there are two avalanche problems to watch: cornices along exposed ridgelines and glide avalanches in terrain with glide cracks.