UPDATE 3/24, 7:17 p.m.: Alta Central plans to close SR-210 again at 10 p.m. this evening with interlodge resuming at 11 p.m. Openings are expected at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

UPDATE 3/24, 6:35 p.m.: Alta Central estimates SR-210 and the Town of Alta will open around 6:45 p.m.

COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4) — Alta and Snowbird announced interlodge conditions several hours ago due to weather conditions, with 1,160 people sheltered in Alta alone. There is currently no estimation as to when skiers and employees can return home.

At 6 p.m. today, Mar. 24, Alta Central announced on their social media that “a natural and serious avalanche cycle has occurred threatening SR-210 and the Town of Alta.”

Over a thousand people took shelter in the lodges and facilities at Alta during the interlodge event on Mar. 24. This photo was taken by someone stuck at Alta during the storm. (Courtesy of Lara Mullen)

Authorities say approximately 1,160 people are sheltering in facilities while multiple agencies are working to clear the highway.

Alta and Snowbird announced an interlodge event earlier today around 2 p.m. after winter conditions increased avalanche risk in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Interlodge means all patrons, such as skiers and snowboarders, as well as employees are confined to the lodge with no exceptions. During this status, it is illegal to leave the buildings, even to stay in your car, according to Snowbird.

The interlodge status, while highly inconvenient for many people, is for the public’s safety allowing UDOT to perform avalanche mitigation.

Alta and Snowbird announced interlodge conditions several hours ago. No estimated time of opening has been released. (Courtesy of Alta Ski Area/Rocko Menzyk)

UDOT recently announced the canyon is still closed as mitigation and slide debris cleanup are ongoing. While Alta estimated the roads would open around 3:30 p.m., the closure has not yet lifted. UDOT said they do not yet have an estimated time of completion.

Alta posted on social media that they received 19 inches of snow between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. today, while Snowbird said they have received 18 inches in the last hour. Wind speed is reported to be between 60-80 mph.

“An Interlodge event is when snow levels are so great and avalanche danger is so extreme that patrons and employees of Snowbird are confined to resort buildings while avalanche work is being done,” Snowbird’s site explains.

According to the site, Highway 210 through Little Cottonwood Canyon has the highest avalanche hazard index in the nation.

“Our collective goal is to get everyone home as soon as possible,” Alta Central said.