No full house in Aspen yet for Pro Cycling Challenge
June 13, 2011
ASPEN – Anyone looking to book a room in Aspen when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge comes to town shouldn’t have any trouble – yet – but savvy campers aren’t waiting until the last minute to book their accommodations.
Numerous Forest Service campgrounds line the route for Stage 2 of the bike race, which takes pro riders from Gunnison to Aspen, on Aug. 24. The 131-mile route includes both Cottonwood and Independence passes; both top 12,000 feet in elevation.
On the Aspen side of Independence pass, the Weller, Lincoln Gulch and Lost Man campgrounds are all first-come, first-served affairs, so the crunch to secure a campsite won’t happen until close to the race date.
Difficult Campground, at the base of the pass, is the largest Aspen-area campground, and more than half of its reservable sites on the nights of Aug. 23 and 24 are already taken. It, too, has a number of first-come, first-served sites that can’t be booked in advance, though.
Among other Aspen campgrounds, Silver Bell, Silver Bar and Silver Queen, most of the reservable sites are taken. Silver Bell has 10 first-come, first-served sites. The three campgrounds, all on Maroon Creek Road, are not located along the race route.
Reservable campsites on both sides of Cottonwood Pass, on the other hand, remain mostly wide open. The Collegiate Peaks Campground, near the Cottonwood summit on the Buena Vista side, has plenty of available sites, a check of http://www.recreation.gov showed on Friday. On the Gunnison side, campgrounds with reservable spaces include Lakeview, Lodgepole, Rosy Lane and Onemile.
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In Aspen, interest in booking a room during race week has apparently yet to heat up, though all of the town’s hotels and lodges have voluntarily devoted a share of their accommodations to the cycling tour itself, including racers, support staff and others associated with the event.
One-third of the Mountain Chalet’s roughly 60 rooms are already devoted to the race contingent, but the rest of the lodging remains available, said manager Craig Melville. People aren’t thinking about reserving rooms for the race yet, he theorized.
“At this point, it’s probably too early to tell what it’s going to look like,” he said.
The same is true at The Little Nell and Limelight Lodge, according to Justin Todd, director of sales and marketing for both hotel properties.
“We have not seen a big influx of reservations as of yet, but the route was just announced, formally announced, last week,” he said Friday. “I have no doubt that we’ll fill up that week.”