Employees and guests are finally able to come back down Little Cottonwood Canyon with the reopening of state Route 210 after being stuck for almost five days.

On Monday night, everyone in the area was restricted from going outside in what mountain regulars know as an interlodge event while the Utah Department of Transportation worked on avalanche mitigation. The interlodge was lifted Thursday morning — only to be reinstated when a natural avalanche slid into the road Thursday afternoon.

Alta Central announced that the interlodge was lifted again Friday morning. Those who were stuck are now allowed to drive back down, but travel up the road is still prohibited.

While interlodges are a common response to winter storms at Alta and Snowbird, resort and public safety workers say this season is different.

“In a normal, busy winter, I would say we might have serious road events up to 10 times a year. We’re at triple that volume this year,” Alta Town Marshal Mike Morey said.

According to Alta Lodge president Cliff Curry, interlodges typically last a few hours, rather than multiple days like this one did.

“This year, when we’re headed for 900 inches and breaking all the records, it’s just beyond anything we’ve ever experienced,” he said.

Heavy snowfall has Utah preparing for potential flooding

The Utah Department of Transportation, ski resorts and the town of Alta alerted the public on Sunday of a possible interlodge so that guests could decide not to risk getting stuck, but Snowbird Ski Resort spokesperson Sarah Sherman said some skiers came anyway.

“Some people see that and say, ‘I want to get stuck at Snowbird,’ and they’ll book lodging to come up because they want to get that country club skiing,” Sherman said.

Guests like these were likely disappointed Tuesday, when both Snowbird and Alta closed.

“Lots of people dressed at the doors to get out if a lift opens,” one Snowbird guest posted on Reddit on Wednesday.

Morey swore the Alta Ski Patrol in as temporary deputies Monday afternoon, allowing them to issue citations for breaking interlodge restrictions.

“We put a lot of energy into searching all the vehicles in town, making sure that we don’t have anybody that’s going to pop up that didn’t already have a place to stay for the night,” Morey said. “When we do find them, we do our best to find a lodging accommodation for them.”

As of Wednesday, Curry said the lodge had plenty of provisions for employees and guests, as interlodges are “a part of life here at Alta.”

“Food as of this morning is ‘getting short’ according to the manager we spoke to at breakfast but the road should open before the hotel runs out. Riskiest thing right now is linens (towels, bedding, etc) as all linen service is done offsite,” the Reddit user posted Wednesday.

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Despite the inevitable cabin fever, Snowbird food service employees talked about a sense of camaraderie.

“In a weird way, it’s kind of exciting,” one employee said. “Being here while records are being broken is pretty cool.”

Curry said the atmosphere at Alta Lodge was generally cheerful — some guests even set up scavenger hunts.

“The amazing thing about it is even though it’s difficult for everybody to be stuck inside ... the guests are cheerful about it, employees are cheerful about it, everybody’s pitching in and we’re getting through it,” he said.

Utah's snowpack breaks 71-year-old record; Cox issues flood declaration as melt nears
Crews from the Utah Department of Transportation use machines to clear avalanche debris that covered the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, April 6, 2023. | Utah Department of Transportation
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