Getting more difficult for senior to ski Snowmass

Why, in this pandemic year, are there a limited number of senior parking passes in Snowmass? Makes no sense to me that in this year where “an abundance of (pandemic) caution” is (rightfully) the norm, the powers that be would relegate the most vulnerable among us to using mass transit or paying exorbitant parking fees in order to ski Snomwass.

Never happened before. I, and others, have never been denied a senior parking pass, at least since I was old enough to qualify for one. I was told in a very courteous email from the Snowmass parking department that their policy on granting senior passes has not changed — always had a limited number — and due to the number of tourists expected to drive here by car this winter, that every effort must be made to accommodate the increase, but not to worry, the buses are clean.

I find all that suspect (I am sure the buses are clean). First of all, the parking department relied on information gleaned from “the increase in car traffic to the area last summer.“ However, last summer I parked in the numbered lots and the Divide lot at Snowmass often and never had a problem finding a space (the parking pass is valid from November to November). The Divide lot — my favorite — is almost completely vacant most winter mornings, even in the very best snow years (2015-16, for example).

I do concede that Aspen-Snowmass needs to accommodate the tourists — our lifeblood — especially during peak times, but year-round? By the way, we are talking about approximately 30 additional parking spots. The parking department said they limit the number of senior passes to 100 on a first-come, first-served basis, but that procedure, if available to the general public, is not posted on their website. Not being prone to conspiracy theories, I have no idea why Aspen Skiing Co. and Snowmass chose this season to adhere to an obscure policy, but it was certainly not due to an increase of tourist car traffic, nor could it have been out of an “abundance of caution” for the health and well-being of a large segment of Aspen-Snowmass-ites.

Tom Sherwood