FRISCO, Colo. (CBS4) – Crews are in the middle of a massive avalanche cleanup project in Summit County. They’re removing debris from the Tenmile Canyon Recreational Pathway between Frisco and Copper Mountain.

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The cleanup work is possible because of a partnership with the Town of Frisco and the U.S. Forest Service. It is expected to take about three weeks.

In March, a historic series of winter storms dumped large volumes of snow into the chutes above Tenmile Canyon Recpath. Twenty-three avalanches crossed the pathway, burying it in snow and debris ranging from a few feet to more than 20 feet deep, covering more than a mile of total pathway.

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“It was an unprecedented event for the Summit County Recpath system,” Open Space & Trails Senior Resource Specialist Jason Lederer said. “Given the scale of the cleanup, we have hired a construction contractor to assist with the debris removal.”

Summit County typically opens the Tenmile Canyon Recpath by Memorial Day, but the volume of debris and the ongoing spring avalanche danger in the canyon – which has persisted well into June – made that timeline impossible this year. Following an expedited RFP process that yielded nine responses, Summit County hired Gypsum-based RPM Construction to conduct the removal work.

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“We will closely monitor RPM’s progress, as well as the condition of the Recpath beneath the debris piles,” Open Space & Trails Director Brian Lorch said. “Our goal is to open Tenmile Canyon Recpath as soon as RPM completes the major debris removal, unless the pathway has sustained substantial damage.”

Tenmile Canyon Recpath will remain closed for the duration of the debris removal work. The Vail Pass Recpath, which stretches between Copper Mountain and Vail, is now fully cleared of snow and open to the public.

Recpath users accessing the Vail Pass Recpath can use the Copper Mountain Route on the free Summit Stage bus system to bypass Tenmile Canyon during the closure.

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“We are grateful for everyone’s patience and support as we work through the process of removing thousands of tons of snow and timber to reopen this section of the Recpath,” Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said.

Matt Kroschel

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