For tourists streaming in this week for prime leaf viewing season, the Federal government shutdown may be altering their plans. The Forest Service closed the gates to vehicle traffic to the Maroon Bells on Tuesday. So, now, the Aspen Skiing Company is offering free gondola rides this weekend on Aspen Mountain.
Vice President of Mountain Operations Rich Burkley says, in a statement from the company, “The Bells may be closed but the bucket’s open.” He adds “We know people come to Colorado from all over the world this time of year to see the stunning scenery and with the road closure and the difficulty of access for many people, this gives our guests a chance to view forests blanketed in gold and crimson from the summit of Aspen Mountain. We are hopeful for a quick resolution as we know many in our community and around the country are negatively affected by the shutdown.”
The Silver Queen gondola will be open for free rides between 10am and 4pm Saturday and Sunday. The Skiing Company’s lodge at the top, The Sundeck, will feature food, drinks and entertainment.