Avalanche Danger Closes Some Utah Resorts After Massive Snowfalls

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Alta Ski Area
An Alta Ski Patroller had to dig out their car after the storm | Picture: Alta Ski Area Facebook Page

The recent incredible snowfalls surely have had most of us dreaming of powder days, but there can be too much of a good thing: several Utah resorts were unable to open in the last few days.

Sundance Mountain Resort announced on its social media channels that it would not be able open on Monday, January 2, 2023, due to extreme mountain weather conditions. Sundance had received 41 inches (1m) of snow, which unfortunately also contained a lot of moisture due to the low temperatures, making grooming a safe run impossible. Sundance Mountain announced the following for operations this Tuesday, January 3, 2023:

“In order to remove the many downed trees in the canyon Rocky Mountain Power will be closing SR92 tomorrow in order to get power back up as quickly as possible. 

The canyon will close at 10 am until dark. There may be some intermittent openings but we would advise anyone who is coming to ski to plan to arrive at 10 am and stay until dark. 

We will operate Outlaw Express as outlined below: 

Rocky Mountain Power is working very hard to restore power. Hundreds of trees snapped affecting several power poles in the canyon. They have multiple line crews and a tree mitigation company working tirelessly. Latest projections on restoration of power may run into Wednesday.

We recognize the challenges this presents to many who want to be on the mountain and given the length of the anticipated outage and after further analysis of running one lift on diesel auxiliary power we have decided to open Outlaw Express only with limited terrain to season pass holders, S Card holders and lodging guests tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 3rd). We will not be selling any day passes. We feel comfortable operating Outlaw Express temporarily on auxiliary power due to the investment made in a backup to the auxiliary power.

The beginner area (magic carpets) will not be able to operate. Maverick terrain park will not be open but we anticipate opening the small park on Stampede. With the limited terrain and single lift operating, lines will likely be long and we would encourage those who can wait to come once we have power restored and can operate all our lifts.

We are very grateful to our incredible mountain team who have worked so hard during this incredible storm. Thanks again for your understanding and support of Sundance!”

Sundance Resort
Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah has been forced to close due to the snow masses | Picture: Sundance Mountain Resort Facebook Page

Other resorts affected by the snow masses are Alta Ski Area, which had to announce a closer for the day on Monday, and neighboring Snowbird. Alta and Snowbird received 37 inches (94cm) of wet snow in the recent snowstorm, which also increased the avalanche risk here. Little Cottonwood Canyon and Highway 210 leading to Alta were closed to all traffic from Saturday, December 31, 2022, from 10 p.m. until Monday for avalanche mitigation. Both resorts were able to reopen on Monday afternoon.

Check the UDOT website for traffic updates before traveling, and stay safe out there! Be aware, ‘Interlodge’ or ‘Straight Line Travel’ orders may be in place in Alta or Snowbird.

Alta Ski Area
Skier Eliza Cowie enjoying some powder turns in Alta, UT, after the storm had settled | Picture: Chloe Jimenez via Alta Ski Area Facebook Page

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3 thoughts on “Avalanche Danger Closes Some Utah Resorts After Massive Snowfalls

  1. Just to be clear the term “Interlodge” means travel outdoors is prohibited by law. So, the concluding sentence of this piece is eroneous: “Travel may still be restricted to ‘Interlodge’ only.” There is a lesser degree of prohibition called “straight line travel” which permits people to walk directly from one building to another without stopping to frolic in the snow. “Travel may still be restricted to ‘Interlodge’ only.” effectively means walking around in the building where you are sheltering. Believe me it is frustrating but necessary for public safety.

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