Extra Adventures in Winter Driving Throughout Utah Report Snow Winter 2022–2023


As I’m penning this on March 26, 2023, Brighton Ski Resort the place I educate Alpine Snowboarding has recorded a brand new all-time report of 772 inches fallen this 2022–23 winter season. Brighton is on the finish of Massive Cottonwood Canyon, solely 14 miles east of Salt Lake Metropolis. The subsequent canyon over, just a few miles away, is Little Cottonwood Canyon and Alta Ski Resort at its finish, the place 752 inches have fallen up to now. The all-time report snowfall for Alta-Brighton was 745 inches the winter of 1994–95. With 5 weeks of the Brighton season nonetheless to go, the 2022–2023 ski season will definitely push the brand new all-time annual snowfall report to over 800 inches. By the best way, 800”/12” = 66.6 ft of snow. If the common story of a high-rise constructing is 14’, that’s approaching the peak of a 5 story constructing.

Determine 1: In a single day snow on automobile. Alta, Utah. March 13, 2023. Photograph by Elizabeth McDonald.

My granddaughter Elizabeth McDonald manages quite a lot of condominiums at Alta (see Determine 3). The Alta powder snowboarding this 12 months has been fabulous, as you may see one other of my granddaughters buried in snow (see Determine 4). This 12 months has been an actual problem driving Little Cottonwood Canyon, which has been closed quite a few instances due to avalanche hazard. On these days, Alta residents and guests have what is known as inter-lodge restrictions. The canyon is shut down and nobody is allowed to drive the canyon or go exterior their residences till the avalanche artillery has blasted the canyon. Generally this winter, they’ve been hunkered down for as much as 24 hours. Most ski resorts use “avalanche hand grenades,” which the ski patrol throws to set off avalanches in inclined locations. Solely when all of the probably avalanches have been triggered are the ski runs opened. Nonetheless, most of the probably avalanche-prone locations in Little Cottonwood Canyon trigger avalanches to go throughout the freeway. These hazard zones can’t be reached by ski patrol and Alta has an precise WWII artillery piece that it makes use of to set off them some miles throughout the canyon. The one ammunitions that may be fired safely on this gun are WWII surplus rounds which were precisely milled for the aim. Astonishingly, these shells have explosive fees which unfold steel shrapnel over the slopes. It will be far too costly to develop customized fees for avalanche management.

On Most Inter-lodge days, Alta residents are required to cover out within the basements. Quite a few automobiles and buildings have been broken. Again within the Alta silver mine days within the 1800s earlier than avalanches had been understood, the entire city of Alta was destroyed a number of instances with lack of life. Elizabeth’s picture in Determine 1 reveals a automobile at Alta coated by only one night time’s snowfall. Snow shoveling and snow blowing (see Determine 2) has been a monumental job this winter.

Determine 2: Snow blower in motion. Close to Alta Ski Resort. Alta, Utah. March 2023. Photograph by Elizabeth McDonald.

On the intersections of highways and driveways, Utah Division of Public Security snowplow/blowers and resident snow blowers have made snow piles as much as 30 ft excessive, as you may see in Determine 2.

Determine 3: Elizabeth McDonald. Report Snow 12 months. Close to Alta Ski Resort. Alta, Utah. Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth McDonald.

Determine 4: My Granddaughter Snowboarding. Buried in energy snow. Alta Ski Resort. Alta, Utah. March 2023. Photograph by Elizabeth McDonald.

Determine 5: My Tesla Mannequin 3 coated in snow. Brighton Ski space parking at night time. January 25, 2023. Photograph by Fritz Hasler.

I skied and taught snowboarding on 40 days this winter. In an earlier life, I routinely drove automobiles with solely rear-wheel drive to snowboarding throughout Wisconsin and Colorado winters. I assumed my dual-motor Tesla Mannequin 3 (primarily all-wheel drive) is all that I would want for Utah winter canyon driving. I simply bought a brand new set of all-season tires with glorious snow tread design. I assumed that may undoubtedly do the trick. Since then, I’ve had no hassle getting up Massive Cottonwood Canyon to Brighton. It will be extra conservative to modify to devoted snow tires within the winter right here. Nonetheless, although I could make it up the canyon, my Mannequin 3 has solely 5.5” clearance. If there’s a massive snowfall whereas I’m parked, I’m excessive centered and may’t get out of the lot (See Determine 5). Worse, when the snow was over 5” deep, chewed up, and compacted, it actually scraped the fiber aero protect off the underside of my automobile once I drove out of the lot. My plan for days with heavy daytime snow forecast sooner or later is to park on the backside of the canyon and hitchhike up.

When caught in snow, EVs really feel completely different than gasmobiles. It’s more durable to inform when the wheels are turning. Like gasmobiles, it helps to again up slightly after which rock the automobile backwards and forwards. Tesla has a Slip Begin operate within the menu. Usually, traction management is enabled, which minimizes the quantity of wheel spin. You disable it on the primary management display by selecting Controls > Pedals & Steering > Slip Begin. This enables the wheels to spin. Once I was caught in snow, it didn’t appear to assist very a lot, however at the moment, I didn’t perceive how the Slip Begin operate works. When you get unstuck, it is best to flip Slip Begin off. Nonetheless, it would flip off mechanically after you set the car in park.

The Mannequin 3 has the small floor clearance of 5.5” as a result of that helps the automobile to be extra aerodynamically environment friendly. It’s much like the Toyota Camry, which has 5.6” floor clearance. The Mannequin Y has one other inch of floor clearance at 6.6”. Nonetheless, neither Tesla has sufficient to be good for off-roading. You’ll injury the aero protect below the automobile or get hung up on rocks or in deeper ruts on the highway. Backside line: twin motor (4-wheel drive) on a Mannequin 3 or Mannequin Y will enable you to with traction on slippery hills, however they aren’t value a lot for deep snow or tough off-roading. The Tesla Mannequin X has adjustable floor clearance as much as 8”, which is identical because the Toyota Highlander at 8”. In the event you plan to do critical off-roading, get a Jeep or the brand new Cybertruck when it comes out, which can regulate to as much as 16”.

13 days in the past, I had my second knee surgically changed, so my snowboarding is completed for the season. I count on to have the ability to ski pain-free and educate snowboarding for a minimum of yet another season. Please add your winter driving expertise to the feedback part.

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