Background


Each ski season, Little Cottonwood Canyon sees heavy traffic congestion during avalanche mitigation days. When there is a risk of avalanche, the canyon is closed to traffic while mitigation work is performed, which prevents recreationists from accessing ski resorts and other canyon destinations, so they must wait at the base of the canyon until work is completed and it is safe to enter. In the past, this has created crowds and lead to heavy delays, congestion, and a frustrating lack of clarity around traffic patterns that affected resort-goers as well as residents and commuters at the base of the canyons.

To alleviate this issue, in 2021 the Central Wasatch Commission partnered with Sandy City, UDOT, and the Utah Transit Authority to create a traffic control plan that:

  • facilitates orderly traffic
  • frees up the roads for local commuters
  • reduces frustration for residents, commuters, and resort-goers
  • decreases travel time on the ski bus by an average of 50 minutes, or 34%
  • incentivizes public transit by prioritizing bus access to the canyon
  • reduces cars on the road
  • provides for better safety for visitors and residents
  • more efficiently serves visitors and residents as they recreate in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

 

How does it work?


On Little Cottonwood Canyon closure days, Sandy City police direct vehicles waiting to enter the canyon to line up on northbound shoulder of Wasatch Boulevard south of Little Cottonwood Canyon Road. In addition to keeping commuter and local traffic moving as normal along Wasatch Boulevard, this service eliminates traffic congestion on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road and allows the 994 bus to travel freely along this road from the UTA Park and Ride lot at 2000 East and 9400 South to the mouth of the canyon, where they are granted priority access into the canyon by Sandy PD.

 

 

 

Ride the Ski Bus


The ski bus priority access program is a direct result of funding from the Central Wasatch Commission, with investment from Sandy City and UTA, and is the culmination of a months-long collaborative planning effort from the CWC, UTA, UDOT, and Sandy City. This public service is a reflection of the community taking creative steps to address traffic congestion to better serve winter canyon users.

For the most up-to-date information, including detailed ski maps and bus schedules, visit rideuta.com/ski.