Utah Used Record 1,000+ Artillery Shells For Avalanche Mitigation This Season

Yesterday, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) confirmed what most Salt Lake City skiers were thinking: this was a record-breaking season for avalanche control measures in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Here's the UDOT release with loads of juicy details about the unprecedented road closures and avalanche mitigation efforts.

Artillery rounds? Yep. UDOT employs howitzers to fire at avalanche-start zones in Little Cottonwood Canyon, triggering slides from a safe distance.

Other avalanche control measures in the slide-prone Little Cottonwood Canyon include road closures, hand-thrown explosives, and remote detonations. Little Cottonwood Canyon, or LCC, accesses Snowbird and Alta via State Route 210.

Both resorts smashed their snowfall records this winter, a historic benchmark that required a historic avalanche safety effort from UDOT.

These are the unprecedented numbers behind this season's explosive avalanche mitigation symphony in Little Cottonwood Canyon:

- 98 avalanches hit State Route 210

- 915 remote avalanche control detonations

- 110 hand-thrown explosive detonations

- 34 full Canyon closures on State Route 210

- 1,480 hours of State Route 210 closures

- 1,072 artillery rounds fired

- Two full ammunition restocks

Whew! These numbers, while shocking, make loads of sense. Utah regularly received absurd amounts of fresh snow this season. And when it's a powder day in LCC, it's time to load up the howitzers.

Shout out to all the hard-working folks at UDOT. They deserve every ounce of praise they get for the avalanche mitigation work they did during the 2022-23 winter.

For a deeper look into Utah's historic winter, view this visual essay from Lee Cohen.

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