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Avalanche debris removal complete north of Copper Mountain; work to continue south of the resort
Contact: Julie Sutor, Director of Communications, 970-409-9461
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County has completed avalanche debris removal on the Tenmile Canyon Recreational Pathway between Frisco and Copper Mountain. This segment of the Recpath is projected to open for public use by 5 p.m., Friday, June 21, once all equipment has been removed. The pathway remains closed from Copper Mountain south to its Highway 91 terminus while contractor RPM Construction continues additional avalanche debris removal on that section.
“The cleanup continues,” Open Space & Trails Resource Specialist Michael Wurzel said. “But given the scale of the debris removal, we're excited to get Tenmile open ahead of schedule.”
So far, crews have found no major damage to the pathway resulting from the historic 2019 winter storms that deposited 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 length.
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 persisted well into June – made that timeline impossible this year. The section of pathway that stretches between Frisco and Copper provides a critical recreational connection between the Vail Pass Recpath and the remainder of the Summit County Recreational Pathway system.
“We want to thank the thousands of Recpath users who have been very patient as we've been tackling this unprecedented cleanup job,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. "And we extend deep thanks to our partners at Copper Mountain Resort, the U.S. Forest Service and Town of Frisco, who are all providing generous support to get this recreational treasure back up and running."
Open Space staff asks all Recpath users to exercise special caution when traveling through Tenmile Canyon now. Significant volumes of snow are still melting out of debris piles adjacent to the pathway, so the pavement could be wet or icy in shady areas and early in the mornings. Debris alongside the pathway could shift or fall as snow and ice melt within the piles. Sight lines, shoulders and recovery zones are reduced in some locations where avalanche debris was deposited.
“It was definitely a character-changing event,” Open Space & Trails Director Brian Lorch said. “We are happy to open the Tenmile Recpath, but we urge all users to travel with care.”
For more information about the Summit County Recreational Pathway, contact the Open Space & Trails Department at 970-668-4060, or visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/OpenSpace.