Memorial Day weekend expected to be busy; Indy Pass is open
The Aspen Times
It’s difficult to predict, but advance and last-minute hotel and lodge bookings for Memorial Day weekend are looking strong, says Bill Tomcich, of Stay Aspen Snowmass.
Tomcich, president of the reservations agency, said bookings are outpacing last year’s Memorial Day weekend, which turned out to be steady, with more than 50 percent occupancy overall.
Some of the draw can be credited to Aspen Skiing Co., which will open upper portions of Aspen Mountain to skiing and snowboarding from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Sightseeing passengers can take the Silver Queen Gondola to the Sundeck restaurant on those days, as well, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Many temporarily shuttered businesses are planning to reopen in time for holiday sales. The Hotel Jerome reopens today after an offseason break.
“I don’t have an accurate crystal ball,” Tomcich said. “We’re pacing just slightly ahead of last year.”
Last weekend’s accommodations business was a pleasant surprise, he said.
“There was a combination of different groups in town,” he said, mentioning that the St. Regis, Aspen Meadows and Sky Hotel did particularly brisk business.
Now, however, it’s time to look ahead.
“Obviously it looks great this weekend,” Tomcich said. “Everything is turning green in the valley, the snow has pretty much melted, the golf courses are open, and the bike trails are dry.
“And the mountain is open. You’d be surprised. In spring skiing, there’s one window where the snow is just like butter. It’s crunchy if it freezes overnight, but for a brief window, there can be some really excellent snow. You have to time it right when it’s that perfect corn.”
Tomcich noted that Independence Pass is set to open at noon Thursday, allowing visitors from many parts of eastern Colorado quicker access to the Roaring Fork Valley.
“This will be the busiest weekend we’ve seen since ski season, no question about it,” he said.
A few Aspen hotels are offering discounted nightly rates in the $109 to $129 range, Tomcich added. Information is available by calling 800-525-6200 or visiting http://www.stayaspen snowmass.com.
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There is a lot of pent up energy among hikers and bikers to get into the high country, but snow fields, avalanche debris and high stream crossings are presenting challenges later than usual. Forest rangers with the Aspen-Sopris District provide trail condition reports that are updated each week so hikers and backpackers aren’t caught unaware.