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Remote system set to replace howitzers used in Little Cottonwood Canyon avalanche mitigation

Towers Howitzer.png
Posted at 3:26 PM, Jul 01, 2024

ALTA, Utah — The big guns may be gone, but the boom will still be heard as a new system is being installed to aid avalanche mitigation in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Sixteen towers are set to be installed along the canyon's Mount Superior ridgeline starting Monday. Instead of firing massive howitzer guns to clear out snow, the new towers will be controlled by remote to drop charges to the ground to trigger avalanches.

The new system allows crews to work from a safe location.

“By using this technology, we will enhance safety and become even more effective at preventing avalanches from reaching our roads,” said UDOT Avalanche Safety Program Manager Steven Clark.

Towers Avalanche

After 75 years, the howitzers used in the Alta Ski Area since 1949 were retired following the most recent ski season. During that time, more than 33,000 rounds of ammunition from the military guns.

The new towers are expected to be installed and operational for the 2024-25 winter season.

Avalanche Towers