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Ski resorts invoke “interlodge” protocol after avalanche

Snowbird resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

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.

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.

UDOT, Alta and Snowbird all tweeted about the canyon opening to downhill traffic around 6 PM Monday.

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.

As of 6:30 P.M. Monday, there was no update to when uphill traffic will be allowed to enter.