Heavy snow causes major Cottonwood Canyon delays

How drivers can help keep it moving

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (News4Utah) - Skiers and snowboarders faced major delays after heavy snow Sunday in the Cottonwood Canyons. 

"It's tough, powder fever is running high right now, we haven't had a lot of snow storms," Jim Manos, a backcountry skier, said.

Some drivers faced hours of delays before getting up the canyons and desired resorts. 

"The parking lot was a demolition derby. And they were all in four wheel drive and still getting stuck. It's a tough problem to solve, bottom line coming up these canyons," Jim Manos, a backcountry skier, said.

While many of us know the "greatest snow on Earth" is worth it, and the Utah Department of Transportation snow removal crews work around the clock to make sure the road is clear after a big storm. 

"The truck in Little Cottonwood did not leave the canyon Sunday. We fill up at the top at a salt reserve and I fueled it from the back of my pickup truck. I threw the driver  a cheeseburger and kept him on his way. It's important to us to keep the canyons open and keep the traffic flowing," Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Canyon Roadway Operation Manager said. 

Powder hounds want to hit the mountains, but it turns out they are less excited to pump the brakes during snow conditions. UDOT says drivers are crowding plows, passing slide offs and gambling by trying to tackle the road with regular tires, not snow tires or four wheel drive. 

"You must have chains on your vehicle. A lot of people have chains on their vehicle, but they go until hey get stuck and then they put the chains on in the middle of the road," Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Canyon Roadway Operation Manager said. 

With late season storms still in the forecast, drivers need to remember to respect the plows and other drivers especially in snowy conditions. 

"When you are operating on a two lane mountain road, one car spins out it stops the rest of them. And once the car stops, the plows stop," Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Canyon Roadway Operation Manager said.

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