Letter: Passing on a great opportunity
November 13, 2013
Passing on a great opportunity
I was surprised to read in The Aspen Times that Independence Pass was closed for the season early this year.
One would think that with all the progress that has been made in Aspen over the last half-century or so, someone would have come up with a concept of how to keep Independence Pass open in the winter. During that span of time, I would like to point out, Aspen streets have been paved and there are many more upscale businesses in town. Ted Bundy chose Aspen; there was real celebrity in that. The jail has been improved, and it is likely that the Pitkin County Courthouse windows have locks on them.
Yet in all this time, Independence Pass still closes for the winter. I cannot imagine how the business leaders in Aspen muffed their chance to draw on skiing and shopping customers from Twin Lakes, Balltown, Granite and Leadville. If the pass were kept open during winter, people could drive in that way. It would be an adventure. They could imagine what it was like to be a member of the Donner Party.
San Juan Pass on the road from Silverton to Ouray is open in the winter. Sure, some snowplow drivers get swept off the highway by avalanches, but there's a monument to them along the highway. In the summer, lots of people stop there to read the names of the heroic drivers who might have otherwise been interred anonymously.
Aspen needs to smarten up. Right now, uninspired thinking is making it like a wintertime outdoor privy — one way in and one way out.
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