LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — A natural avalanche blocked the main road through Little Cottonwood Canyon on Monday afternoon, prompting Alta and Snowbird ski resorts to invoke “interlodge” procedures.
The resorts initially directed drivers trapped inside the canyon back to the resort parking lots and asked them to wait in their cars.
Due to the recent avalanche, we are directing all cars back to parking lots at Alta and Snowbird.
— Snowbird (@Snowbird) January 21, 2019
But the resorts soon invoked that “interlodge” protocol, asking everyone to proceed to the nearest building. “DO NOT STAY IN YOUR CARS,” Snowbird wrote on Twitter.
— Kira Hoffelmeyer (@kirahoffelmeyer) January 21, 2019
UDOT, Alta and Snowbird all tweeted about the canyon opening to downhill traffic around 6 PM Monday.
🚨 Little Cottonwood Canyon is open to downhill traffic only. 🚨
As of right now we do not know when uphill traffic will be permitted. We’ll update as information is made available to us.
— Snowbird (@Snowbird) January 22, 2019
According to Canyon Services, a Little Cottonwood Canyon vacation lodging company, interlodge can occur when Little Cottonwood Canyon receives heavy snowfall in a short period of time. It can also happen when there’s warming of the snow-covered cliffs in the spring and avalanche conditions are high.
“When interlodge is declared by the Alta Marshal and or Snowbird Safety, guests are required to stay in their rental unit until the interlodge is lifted,” Canyon Services policy page reads. “Usually avalanche control work is completed quickly, making it safe to be outdoors.”
The resorts warned those stuck in them to follow the rules when it comes to these interlodging procedures. They can come with heavy fines and Alta Central reported they had made nine arrests this week including Monday.
Interlodge violations carry a potential $1000 fine and jail time. We’re serious about this folks. LIVES CAN BE LOST. We have arrested nine individuals this week including today.
— Alta Central (@AltaCentral) January 22, 2019
As of 6:30 P.M. Monday, there was no update to when uphill traffic will be allowed to enter.
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