One morning this month, after more than 31 inches of snow had fallen in the previous two days, Utah transportation workers opened a huge garage-type door in a building near a state highway and fired a howitzer soldier on a mountain in the Salt Lake Valley.
The explosion set off several avalanches that buried State Route 210 in Little Cottonwood Canyon. In some areas, the snow was 13 feet deep and 150 feet wide. Officials then sent crews with specialized heavy equipment to clear the two-lane road. They reopened it later that afternoon.