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Little Cottonwood Canyon road reopens after multiple avalanches

(Suzanne Paylor | The Salt Lake Tribune) Motorists have trouble driving in Little Cottonwood Canyon during a storm on Friday, November 29, 2019.

Officials have reopened the only road in and out of a Utah ski area east of Salt Lake City that had been closed for days due to multiple avalanches.

Alta Ski Area visitors and employees were required to stay indoors until Saturday, before Little Cottonwood Canyon reopened to traffic.

The Alta and Snowbird resorts had been closed since Wednesday and the rest of the canyon since Thursday.

"We get this much snow a lot," said Alta employee Gretchen Wolf. "It's just the way the storm came in and the way the weather was created unstable circumstances."

At least three natural avalanches slid across the road on Friday morning, officials said.

Alta spokeswoman Andria Huskinson said the resort reopened Saturday to foot traffic before the road opened that afternoon, allowing people who were stuck to take advantage of the small crowds on the slopes.

Visitor Kathy Ogsbury of Denver said she's missed at least three flights home.

"We've been eating a lot, reading books, more eating, a little drinking," she told KSL-TV. "We had fun. Now we'd like to get out."

Huskinson said she doesn't remember the last time the lodge was locked down for two days.

John Gleason, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, told The Deseret News the road was covered in places that hadn’t seen an avalanche in more than a decade.


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