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Historic Avalanche Season Could Mean Problematic Spring, Summer

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Mother Nature's fury this winter means many popular Colorado trails could be delayed opening this spring and may not open until the end of the summer. U.S. Forest Service crews across the mountain region are just now accessing the damage from historic avalanche slides.

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"This season since it was so big, and there was so much snow movement across the landscape, you know some areas may not melt out until mid July," Kate Jerman, a spokeswoman for USFS White River National Forest, said.

Jerman says trying to predict opening days for certain trails is impossible right now.

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"You know we don't really know the extent of what we're dealing with out there, but we do you anticipate there to be impacts to both trails and roads this spring and summer," Jerman said.

The sky chutes slid last month burying a section of the Colorado Trail near Copper Mountain.

"Anyone who is planning on hiking that in the early summer and spring to just be aware that there could be variable conditions out there and in some cases the trail may be hard to find," she added.

Inside Tenmile Canyon, Summit County officials are bracing for what they will find in the debris covering the paved trail.

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"We really just don't know what we will find until we actually can see the ground, if we can see the ground in some of these places," Jerman said.

They already have an emergency temporary closure for the popular Conundrum Trailhead near Aspen due to a historic slide in that valley.

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"What we're looking at there is 15 and in some cases 30 feet of compact concrete like snow and debris," Jerman said.

It's going to take a lot of extra work this spring to get things opened.

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