Snowdance 2024: Wild Weather, Slippery Roads & Travel Delays Vex Sundance Kickoff

If you’re heading to the Sundance Film Festival tonight or early tomorrow, be sure to buckle up, bundle up and expect delays due to bad weather.

Days of snowfall in and around Park City and other parts of Northern Utah have seen cars skidding off the mountain roads and traffic backed up due to accidents and the weather. Earlier today, there were near blizzard conditions in the canyons and mountain passes between Salt Lake City and Sundance’s resort home.

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Kicking off Thursday with films screening at noon, Sundance is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Heading into Park City on Route 80 on Wednesday morning, it was de rigueur to see cars spinning out, or fender-bendered into highway dividers.

With visibility sometimes greatly limited, the slick roads provided confusion for a lot of drivers as to whether it was a two lane or three lane road.  While conditions around Park City have cleared up at present and skiing hills next to the town were relatively packed this afternoon,  more snow is expected to dump later tonight.

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“It has impacted travel,” Officer Spencer Harrison of the Park City Police told Deadline tonight of the recent storm and its aftermath. “You want to give extra time and go slow,” he added of arriving in the town and getting around for the festival.” To that end, snow ploughs are expected to be out around 4 AM MT to start clearing for the morning commutes and Sundance Day 1 arrivals.

“The weather forecast predicts it will be warmer than last year and with fewer days of snow, that said Park City Public Works strives to ensure the safest possible conditions as they have for our last 40 Festivals,” a festival spokesperson said this evening of the weather and its impact on the January 18 – 28 festival.

With that, of utmost concern for many industry folk and the tens of thousands of other attendees coming into town after a snow storm: Are they going to slip and fall on Main Street? Already, despite being salted, the sidewalks are proving hard to walk on with the handful of people already here taking some tumbles.

Traditionally, the Sundance Film Festival sees one or two hefty snowfalls a year, with many attendees trying to get some time on the slopes as part of their visit. However, it is rare to find such rough road conditions in Utah, where it snows a lot this time of year, as the past few days have endured.

Weather reports have tomorrow and January 18 overcast with temperatures in the 37°F range in the day and going down to below 15°F at night. On the weekend, the snow starts coming down hard again and continue in to next week.

Currently, there is a severe weather alert in effect in the region from the state of Utah.

The upside is that while it is cold, there isn’t the icy temperatures that often chill festivalgoers to the bone as they head up and down Main Street or into the likes of the Egyptian Theater to see movies. The downside is that travel is slow and could crawl even more as the snow begins to fall again

Meanwhile at Salt Lake City airport, today’s storm caused delays of 15 minutes or greater, according to authorities. Tonight, there’s a wind chill of 31 degrees with a 71% chance of precipitation.

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