Deep Snow and Avalanches Delays Opening of Roads in Glacier National Park

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Lingering deep snowpack at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, combined with near daily avalanches, are setting back efforts to open the road for the summer tourist season, according to the Daily Interlake.

It’s feeling like spring in the valley, but at Logan Pass, Glacier National Park road crews are still in the thick of winter snowpack — the deepest seen in more than a decade, according to officials.

“There’s still a lot of work to do up here,” Glacier National Park Roads Supervisor Brian Paul said as he looked over a buried Logan Pass Visitor Center and plows working their way through deep snowpack just beyond the parking lot exit on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s the deepest snow they’ve measured at the pass in the early spring since 2011, he said.

Early spring warmth at lower elevations allowed the plowing season to get off to a quick start. However, repeated avalanches from deep snow at higher elevations has meant previously cleared sections of the road are regularly having to be replowed, slowing the road clearing process.

The avalanches this year have felt Sisyphean; crews hurry down the road as warm afternoon temperatures cause snow to start sliding. Paul said they usually have to clear avalanches to get home.

“The last avalanches were on the 13th of May last year, and yesterday [June 1] we had seven. We keep re-plowing or pre-plowing to follow-up in the morning, we’ll start working and then we’ll have to plow ourselves out in the afternoon,” Paul said.

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