Aspen braces for big Labor Day weekend with JAS, Motherlode

Crowds will return to downtown Aspen during a busy Labor Day Weekend.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The Motherlode Volleyball Classic and JAS Labor Day Experience both take place this weekend, drawing in crowds from across the nation. Hotels and restaurants are booking up quickly, as staff prepares for one of the last busy weekends of the season.

Clark’s Oyster Bar’s staff is well-prepared for the weekend. Partner and executive chef Josh Hines came in from Austin, Texas, to lend an extra hand around the restaurant.

“(The staff) all know the routine, from being up here for many seasons, that it’s all-hands-on-deck for this weekend. There’s no vacation requests or anything like that,” he said. “Everybody is going to be working hard, and they all know it.”

The crowds at Clark’s Oyster Bar started as early as Wednesday, the day that the Motherlode volleyball tournament was slated to start. According to Hines, the restaurant only takes dinner reservations, and they tend to book up months in advance for holiday weekends, such as Labor Day.

Although the August 2022 Executive Summary and Occupancy Report indicates summer hotel occupancy in Aspen and Snowmass is down 18.5% this year, hotels are seeing a boom in reservations for this weekend. Similar to years past, the Daily Occupancy Report released on Aug. 19 shows hotel bookings for Labor Day Weekend are over 80%.

The weather this weekend appears to be cooperating with all of the outdoor events planned. Visitors can expect warm and mostly sunny days, with temperatures in the 80s and cooler nights, when the temperature will drop to the 50s.

JAS Labor Day Experience, a music festival taking place at Snowmass Town Park, brings in crowds of 10,000 daily. When JAS partnered with AEG Live in 2010, they were able “to bring even stronger acts to the Aspen/Snowmass community,” their website states. Headliners this year include Leon Bridges, Chris Stapleton and Stevie Nicks.

Motherlode, one of the oldest outdoor volleyball tournaments in the country, takes place through Monday. The tournament has 24 divisions, played at Wagner and Koch Lumber parks in Aspen.