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Little Cottonwood Avalanch

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
more info here
Sorry i didn't see the post way down below,before i posted this
post #2 of 15
I watched the report on this last night on TV. What a lucky group of people! The interensting thing here, and a lesson for all, is that all persons in the vehicle were wearing seat belts. On TV they interviewed one of the children, about 8-10 years old and he described how he ended up hanging in the air inside the vehicle secured by his seatbelt. Imagine the potential injuries here without belts!

Buckle up at all times, Bears, particularly in snow country!
post #3 of 15
Over 1000 people stuck up in the Canyon for the night.
post #4 of 15
I got several reports from friends that were stuck. Apparently, it was quite the scene up there. "Get inside, NOW!" sort of stuff.

Also, apparently during control work yesterday there were some HUGE slides that pulled out. Like the ENTIRE backside at Alta, all of yellowtrail, all of the glory hole, etc. I can't wait to get up today to see it.

post #5 of 15
Lonnie, I guess you were not working when they closed the Canyon?
post #6 of 15
My son and I were up there on Thursday. It was our first trip to Utah, and the last day of our trip. We took the bus up to Alta on Wednesday, from the Little Cottonwood Canyon park and ride, just to see how it would work. It was puking snow when we got to the mouth Thursday morning, and decided the bus was the best option. Figured we could ski till 1:30PM, then have plenty of time to get down to catch our 5:10PM flight home.

Well, let's just say something about the best laid plans....

We only skied a few runs off of Collins before the weather got the best of my son. To be honest, I was having some difficulty with the variable deep piles, howling wind, and minimal visibility. Those with more local knowledge, and wider skis were having an absolute feeding frenzy. Tried a run over on the Sugarloaf side, but it was a total whiteout over there. We did a few more laps off of the Sunnyside lift, and decided to call it around 1PM. We heard later, that they closed Snowbird around 2PM, although Collins and Sunnyside, at Alta, were open till normal 4:30PM close.

At that point, the road was closed for avy control, and we were told it would reopen around 3PM. That came and went while we spent the next hour and a half in the Albion base locker trying to work out backup flight plans with both Delta, and Expedia, to little effect. I want a throw out a huge "Thank You" to Mike, one of the Alta yellow jackets, who went way above the call of duty, in trying to help us.

Around 5PM, we received word the road was open, but oppurtunities to get down were hampered by the mess in the Albion lot. The two buses that were up there were stuck, and cars trying to get out, were fouling up any pathway out. About 20 minutes later, a several additional buses arrived, but the first one we boarded got stuck in the lot. Finally, we got on the back bus, and started down canyon around 5:20PM. We stopped at the Wildcat base, and then the first Snowbird stop with only moderate difficulty. At the second Snowbird stop, just outside the Lodge, we were told to exit the bus immediately, and enter the building.

A bunch of the family types ended up buying rooms at the Lodge, but I thought $185 was a bit dear. Just for asking, they gave us blankets and pillows, and one of the lower level staff said we could sleep in the first floor conference room. Again, huge kudos to support level staff, that really took care of us. I woke up around 6AM Friday to the sounds of shells all around. Went up to the 4th floor to grab a coffee and watch some of the action. Got to see a nice avy coming down Superior, and captured it on my little digicam (Will have to try and post it later).

My biggest mistake was not skiing Friday at the Bird. We watched the patrol making first tracks down around 8:45AM, and it was a beautiful thing to witness. I was too worked up trying to find a cheap way home, after the phone shafting from Delta. We were also told the road would open by 10AM, but that didn't work either. Finally got down around 1PM to a bunch of news people in the park and ride. We did a couple of interviews and headed over to the airport. I don't have any idea if they broadcast any of our stuff, although likely not, as I didn't rise to the bait.

After all of the phone hell, the SLC Delta staff could not have been nicer. They had a special line setup, and got us on the same 5:10PM flight home, that we would have taken the previous day, with no change fees or hassle. Twentyfour hours earlier, they were telling us our tickets were no longer valid, and they best they could do was sell us two one-ways, at $650 ea. Thankfully, I didn't bite.

In the end, it was GREAT trip. All of the Alta, and almost all of the Snowbird staff went above and beyond the call of duty. The SLC UTA bus drivers are some of the coolest people ever (the driver on the way down on Wednesday even tried pulling donuts in the snow covered Wildcat lot). Leo, on Thursday kept pulling moves out of his backside, even though we were eventually stopped short at Snowbird. My 10yo son has a great story to tell his friends after returning to school Monday. Thankfully, the family in the SUV were unhurt. Sounds like the couple of extra Alta passengers kept their cool and saved the day.

As for me, I can't wait to return.
post #7 of 15
Dave, Glad there wasn't any injuries or major trauma to you or your son. A lot of locals when going up Canyon on a heavy storm day pack a sleeping bag and air mattress in the car just in case.
You now have a great story to tell to both your skiing friends and non skiing friends. The non skiers will think your even more insane becuse you were skiing in a place that is prone to avalanches. Might even get a visit from child protective services for endangering your 10 year old. Your son will definitely get some mileage from his adventure. His status from his skiing and snowboarding friends has gone up a few notches.
post #8 of 15
No injuries and no trauma. Can't say that we were even worried. Everyone from Alta, UDOT, UTA and Snowbird acted professionally, as they should.

On the bus, I sat next to a mother and her 6yo son, visiting from Atlanta. The husband, and their 10yo daughter were in the back of the bus. She had wanted a beach vacation, while the hubby, having had a great time in SLC the previous year, wanted to take the family skiing. She was a bit worried, but thankfully not distraught. I explained what little I knew, learned from hanging out here, and suggested she might feel a bit better by taking the "grand adventure" perspective. Apparently, the extended family back home was in heavy construction, and the son found great glee in noting the various CAT graders and loaders.

When I get some time, I will have to type up a proper report for the rest of the trip. On the first afternoon, Sunday, we were up your way, taking advantage of the ski free deal at DV. Not bad, although I was having some issues getting my ski legs and centering back after four weeks of desk work.

I just attempted to attach a photo one of the triggered slides, coming down Superior. It was taken through the glass, from the Atrium on the 4th floor of Snowbird Lodge. Time was around 7AM, Friday morning. Saw some others, but the angles were a bit too oblique to photograph through the plate glass.
post #9 of 15
Thank goodness no injuries. Sorry I wasn't there to "enjoy" this hollywoodesque adventure, it would have added to my current EXTREME love for skiing in Utah!

post #10 of 15
Here's a couple of pictures from Friday.

Slides on Alta's Backside

Slide in Little Cottonwood Canyon
post #11 of 15
Still a great adventure, but not a new one. My father was in Pasadina during WWII forcasting weather for the Navy. They'd see a big front out in the Pacific, put in for a three day leave, drive all the way to Alta, and get stranded. "Beyond our control, guess we'll be stuck here'til the road is clear"
post #12 of 15

Excellent write-up

Thank you for your words and perspective on LCC during the big storm and road closure. I read allot about these days on TGR with a big emphasis on the great powder, and a locals perspective on the chaos in the Alta parking lot.

Thanks for taking the time to post. And yes its sounds like a great adventure.

Here is a link to a thread in TGR (The Locals Perspective)
post #13 of 15
Saturday [4/8/06] at Alta was delightful, no problems whatsoever.
post #14 of 15

suv sacrifices its life for passengers

would a hybrid do the same?
post #15 of 15
Originally Posted by duke walker
would a hybrid do the same?
A few years ago a Honda Civic caught in an avy rolled down Berthod Pass from one switchback to the next. The driver was unhurt, and said his first thought was how odd it was that the wipers were still going even though the windshield was missing.
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