SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The interlodge order at Snowbird and Alta remains in place, nearing 45 hours, after lake-effect snow continued to dump on the Wasatch Front. Both Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons will be closed indefinitely for avalanche and hazard mitigation.
Overnight into Wednesday morning, Utah’s mountains once again received a healthy dose of snow as the latest winter storm continued to move past the state. The Alta Ski Area received 15 inches of snow overnight, while Snowbird recorded 16 inches received in the same time frame.
The heavy snowfall forced officials to keep both Cottonwood Canyons closed on Wednesday, April 5, for avalanche mitigation. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) said there is no estimated opening time for SR210 or SR190, the state roads that run through the canyons.
According to the Utah Avalanche Center, the avalanche danger remains high at all elevations on Wednesday.
“Soft slab avalanches in the new snow are running farther and faster and breaking over wider areas than normal,” warned Utah Avalanche Center Forest Service Director Mark Staples. “These are unprecedented conditions.”
Staples said avalanches will happen in the foothills, not just in the canyons and higher elevations.
The mountain dangers have forced Snowbird and Alta to stay under an interlodge order. In a letter from the Alta Marshal’s Office, officials said there is a substantial amount of avalanche debris on SR210, and clearing that debris is a large and time-consuming event.
During an interlodge order, outdoor travel is prohibited, including travel outside of buildings at the resorts. Additionally, it is illegal to be in cars. According to Ski Utah, interlodge orders last at most only a few hours. There have been a few instances where interlodges have lasted longer, such as a 52-hour interlodge order in February 2020 and a 60-hour interlodge in February 2021.
As avalanche mitigation efforts continue in the canyons, Snowbird and Alta are approaching nearly 45 hours on an interlodge order after the order went into effect at 9 p.m. on Monday, April 3.