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Travelers trying to cancel because of I-70 shutdown encouraged to take mountain passes

aspen lodge i-70 detour.jpg
Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 22:18:34-04

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — Some travelers are less than enthused about taking the long way around the Glenwood Canyon closure, but cancellation policies could result in losing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

"My wife and I, 25 years together, we've traveled all over the country and all over the world," said Randy Schleeter, who said he likes taking the road less traveled, but had no interest in taking the recommended I-70 detour.

His family just moved to Colorado last year and planned to explore Vail and Aspen for the first time this weekend. Then, they saw the Colorado Department of Transportation detour.

"Going from Vail around through Silverthorne, it would take us about 6 hours 20 minutes one way, no stops. This would take our entire day," Schleeter said.

He soon learned he had missed the 10-day cancellation window at Aspen Mountain Lodge.

Their take: You can still get to Aspen.

"He's making a mountain out of a molehill," said Allison Campbell, the manager of the Aspen Mountain Lodge.

Campbell said there are still three routes to get to Aspen: CDOT's recommended northern detour, Independence Pass for vehicles under 35 feet and Cottonwood Pass for four-wheel drive vehicles.

"I think people need to know that they need to take a breath. And it's Colorado; any road you take to get here is going to be a phenomenal adventure," Campbell said. "At this point, there's no reason for anyone to cancel because I-70 closed."

In fact, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association said Aspen has not seen the waves of cancellations Glenwood Springs has experienced. Many people are still flying to their airport.

However, lodges are getting calls about cancellation policies, as guests decide to brave mountain passes recommended on the chamber's website, despite CDOT concerns.

"I believe these passes have been traveled as a way to get to our resorts for years and years, and that's going to continue," said Debbie Braun, the president and CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. "And remember, there is still a recommended detour that is not mountain passes, and that you could fly into Aspen. You can fly to Grand Junction with Frontier Airlines $70 special round trip. There are many ways to get here."

Meanwhile, Schleeter said he is out $367 for one night at Aspen Mountain Lodge because the recommended detour would take too long for a one-night trip and the mountain passes aren't recommended for tourist travel.

"It really concerns me. I just hoped that they would work with us," he said. "More than anything, I don't want to see anyone else go through this."

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