With Independence Pass opening early on May 11, this year's Ride for the Pass and the Aspen Cycling Criterium should be bigger - and faster - than ever. Ride for the Pass takes place on Saturday, May 19, traversing the tried-and-true route from Winter Gate to Independence Ghost Town, with approx. 2,500 feet elevation gain over the 10-mile race course. Ride like the high-alpine wind, as proceeds from your efforts will benefit the Independence Pass Foundation (www.independencepass.org.)
“This has been an extraordinarily wild swing in snowpack amounts compared to last year,” CAIC Forecaster Rob Hunker said. “We’ve had two extreme years in a row—last year, the snowpack melted around June 23, this year it happened by May 1.”
There you have it: we're in luck! Normally, the gates are pried open on Memorial Day Weekend but this year, locals and visitors will get a head start on climbing, hiking, biking and general high alpine enjoyment, as Independence Pass opens for the season on May 11.
What a beautiful weekend for margaritas, beer and mariachis. Whether or not the mariachis materialize, there are several Aspen hot spots primed for toasting the 5th of May, Cinco de Mayo style. Cantina and Su Casa are the usual suspects, for a good time, great specials and South of the Border decor.
This year, check out the new Justice Snow's, next the Wheeler Opera House. Margs, Sol beer, cheap and delicious soft-shell tacos and shots of Chamuca Tequila, all night long.