LAKE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Crews are working to try to get Independence Pass open by Memorial Day. On Thursday they dropped bombs on unstable slabs of snow for avalanche mitigation.

“They are pretty cool to watch as long as you are watching from a safe spot,” said Colorado Avalanche Information Center Deputy Director Brian Lazar.

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Bombs the size of turkeys, weighing eight pounds, were dropped from a helicopter over the pass to create small avalanches in hopes of avoiding big ones.

A helicopter drops a bomb on a snow slab on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

A helicopter drops a bomb on a snow slab on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

“One of the prettiest roads in the world, a lot of snow,” said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Jack Stieber.

Before the pass can be opened for the season, crews must complete avalanche mitigation to make it safe for travelers.

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“Going to go up and shake it and see what we can do,” said Stieber. “Get it ready for the public, the tourists, the locals to travel… We just want to make it safe.”

Crews spent much of Thursday afternoon blowing up the snow so that later in the season those huge slabs of snow don’t come down on the pass while people are driving on it.

Avalanche blasting on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

Avalanche blasting on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

“Anytime you deal with explosives it is dangerous, you put it in a helicopter, there is another dangerous thing. We all want to go home at night,” said Stieber.

Crews will continue with avalanche mitigation for the next week, hoping to have Independence Pass open on May 21 just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Avalanche mitigation on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

Avalanche mitigation on Independence Pass (credit: CBS)

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Blasting crews were originally scheduled to begin avalanche mitigation last week, but the snowstorm prevented crews from working.