Little Cottonwood Canyon using new avalanche mitigation towers

ALTA, Utah — The Alta and Snowbird ski resorts installed 13 new avalanche mitigation towers from the Swiss company Wyssen Avalanche Control this summer.

The towers, which will be used for the first time this winter, are designed to trigger avalanches via remote-controlled blasting.

From Wyssen’s website, “To trigger an avalanche, a coded command is sent from the control centre WAC.3® to the control system of the deployment box to initiate the blasting. The deployment box contains 12 prepared explosive charges, which can be individually deployed by remote control. When the explosive charge is dropped, two igniters are pulled and the explosion is set off after a time delay. The charge remains hanging from a cord at a pre-set height above the snow cover, which is completely dropped after blasting. To reload explosive charges the complete deployment box is lifted from the tower by helicopter and brought to a station building or warehouse respectively.”

System setup and function. (Photo: Wyssen Avalanche Control)

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