Avalanche control causes delays in canyons

Avalanche control causes delays in canyons

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Jed Boal reportingWeekend storms dump a couple of feet of fresh snow on the Wasatch Mountains, and plenty of people scramble to get first tracks.

Brighton got 35 inches of new snow, Alta had 33 inches, and Snow Basin got 30 inches.

It's great news for resorts, and holiday skiers and snowboarders, as long as they could get to the powder.

Avalanche control causes delays in canyons

Snow conditions up top were incredible, but as a UDOT spokesman put it, the lift lines went all the way past the mouth of the canyon.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is the most avalanche-prone resort canyon. This morning, buses filled, skiers hitched rides, and others got anxious. Skier Megan Collins said, "We just got a ton of snow, and I'm a powder hound."

It took more than an hour for skiers and snowboarders to climb Little Cottonwood Canyon. UDOT closed the road for two hours this morning to trigger avalanches and make it safe.

Avalanche control causes delays in canyons

Yesterday, Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons closed for several hours, and no other roads accessing other resorts were closed.

At Snowbird, everyone liked the pay-off for their patience. Sandy skier Kurt Willardson said, "Traffic was a little slow, but it was good." Willardson said the wait was absolutely worth it.

The storms helped the snowpack, but the depth is still below average in northern Utah after a dry November.

Visitors here for the greatest snow on earth got what they came for. Nate Willardson, a snowboarder from San Diego, said, "It's going to be amazing. Can't wait to finally go on some real snow."

Avalanche danger remains considerable on the Wasatch Front. It's high for the Uinta Mountains, and there are hazardous conditions for backcountry skiing and snowmobiling.

UDOT plans avalanche work from a helicopter tomorrow morning, but that should not disrupt traffic.

For more information on avalanche and road conditions, click on the related links.

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