The Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain will be free to the public this weekend, marking the end of summer operations.
With the recent federal government shutdown closing the road to the Maroon Bells, the Aspen Skiing Co. has decided to run the gondola for free so guests can access the views and peaking fall foliage.
“The Bells may be closed but the bucket’s open,” said Rich Burkley, SkiCo vice president of mountain operations. “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 Sundeck will remain open for food and drinks, and there will be live music on Sunday with the Goodman band. The gondola will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Aspen’s City Market will close at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. starting Monday.
The early closure is because the store is building a new sidewalk, a project that has also taken away several parking spots on the building’s north side.
The 9 p.m. closing is to last through Oct. 11.
Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s online insurance marketplace, is now open and offers individuals, families and small businesses a one-stop shop to compare, pick and purchase health insurance plans, as well as access to new up-front financial assistance based on income.
Open enrollment is underway at www.connectforhealthco.com . Those who purchase plans by Dec. 15 will have coverage beginning Jan. 1.
Eagle County, in partnership with Garfield and Pitkin counties and Mountain Family Health Centers, was one of 58 organizations in the state selected to provide in-person assistance to customers of Connect for Health Colorado. The entities received $750,000, one of the top five funding awards in the state, to run a local Health Assistance Network through Dec. 31, 2014.
The network includes health-coverage guides who are available to assist with evaluating health plan options, applying for insurance affordability programs and enrolling in health coverage. All health coverage guides are bilingual in English and Spanish and are available by appointment in a variety of locations in Aspen, Basalt, Eagle, El Jebel, Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
To schedule an appointment online, visit www.eaglecounty.us/HealthAssistance . To schedule an appointment by phone, contact the health coverage guide closest to you:
Eagle — Maricela Pinela: 970) 471-0672
Aspen/Basalt/El Jebel — Yolanda Thierfelder: 970 471-3554
Glenwood Springs — Jennie Quevedo: 970 471-3510
Rifle — Sonia Acosta: 970 471-5964.
For more information, visit the Connect for Health Colorado website at www.connectforhealthco.com  or call 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU (855-752-6749).
The Sunlight Winter Sports Club and the Sunlight Volunteer Ski Patrol will be holding their annual Great Ski and Sports Swap on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The location is at the Orrison Distributing Warehouse, 3 miles south of Glenwood Springs on Highway 82. The swap is one of the first of the season. There is a $1 admission fee and early birds are welcome to shop from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for a $5 admission price.
If you wish to sell your gear, consignment items will be checked in today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the warehouse. There is a $1 fee to sell your item and 20 percent of your sale price is donated to support the Sunlight Ski Club and Sunlight Ski Patrol.
Volunteers are needed to work during the sale, as well as Friday night check-in and Sunday afternoon check-out. Organizers need cashiers, floor monitors, cleaning crews and back room accounting staff. Volunteers are able to shop early with no early bird admission fee. Call Ken Murphy at 970 456-7907 to volunteer.