LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4) – Friday morning all the mountain snow from Utah’s latest storm shut down Little Cottonwood Canyon for a second time in a matter of hours.
The wet, snowy start to the morning led to slick roads and crashes and made for long lines headed into Little Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon closed overnight for avalanche control, with skiers and boarders waiting anxiously at the mouth of Little Cottonwood for it to reopen.
“You don’t mind waiting while the canyon is closed?” Reporter Brian Carlson asked one skier.
“Absolutely not, it’s all for the snow,” said Marcus Clancy, visiting from New Hampshire
“Waiting’s not great, but what are you going to do?” said Tom Cadora, Alta ski instructor.
“A resort day like today when you get 18 inches, you got to get up early so you can ski it before it’s gone,” said Ryan Petronella, Millcreek resident.
Snowbird shared images of their snow on social media saying they just hit 300 inches for the season. ABC4 News found some waiting to enjoy it, passing the time with an impromptu disco dance party.
“It feels like you guys are having a good time?” Carlson asked.
“Yeah, making the best of it,” said Cadora.
By the time police cleared out barricades, and reopened the canyon at 8:00 a.m., cars were ready to go – the line stretching back for miles. As far back as the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the line of cars still stretched on.
For cars that didn’t get in this morning, some were out of luck. UDOT said Little Cottonwood got so much snow it forced them to close the canyon again just three hours later. They explained why.
“To bring down any additional avalanches. We want to trigger those while the canyon is closed so we can keep everybody safe,” said John Gleason, UDOT Spokesperson.
Having the canyon close twice in the same day, and skiers waiting in long lines obviously is not the ideal morning for Little Cottonwood, but for some skiers, the reward for snow is worth the risk.
Looking at the struggle up there today you may want to camp out in your car overnight to beat the lines going in, but UDOT wants to remind you camping overnight in your car isn’t allowed within 1/2 a mile of any road in the Cottonwood Canyons.