Aspen Events Abound Before, During And After USA Pro Challenge

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Lodging Rates as Low as $119/night, VIP Tickets Available for Race Start and Finish

The USA Pro Challenge returns to Aspen on Wednesday, Aug. 22 and Thursday, Aug. 23, but cycling enthusiasts are invited to stay and play in Aspen longer with festivals and events designed to extend their stay into an unforgettable mountain experience.

It’s no surprise that Aspen is the only city to host two stages, including a start and a finish featuring two of the highest climbs in professional racing. The unparalleled cultural activities, dining scene and nightlight coupled with extraordinary outdoor activities will make for a stellar late-summer getaway.

Affordable, multiple-night lodging packages are available through Stay Aspen Snowmass, with rates starting as low as $119/night.

Information on the Aspen stage of the USA Pro Challenge, including accommodations, VIP passes, spectator information, and more can be found at http://www.aspenupcc.com. Come for the race, and stay for Mountainfilm. Or the final performance from the Aspen Music Festival and School. Or an encore performance from Aspen Sante Fe Ballet. Below are 10 unique ways to experience Aspen during the USA Pro Challenge – bike optional:

1.    Aspen Art Museum Bike-In Movie, Aug. 18, 2012 - This summer, the AAM screens a series of award-winning documentaries about contemporary art and artists in collaboration with Aspen Film, and—just in time for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge—a “bike-in” presentation of the late-seventies coming-of-age classic Breaking Away. Grab your bike and enjoy the film on the lawn of the museum. http://www.aspenartmuseum.org/

2.    Aspen/Snowmass Komen Ride for the Cure, Aug. 18, 2012 - Hop on your bike and join the Ride to help thousands of women fight breast cancer by raising money on 100-, 50-, 30- or 10-mile bicycle rides throughout must-see sites in the Roaring Fork Valley, including Ashcroft, The Maroon Bells, Old Snowmass and Woody Creek. komenaspen.org

3.    AREDAY – American Renewable Energy Day, Aug. 18-21, 2012 - AREDAY is a unique renewable energy and clean technology policy summit and forum that gathers national leaders, like Ted Turner, Daryl Hannah and Mariel Hemingway, to engage in presentation, conversation, performance, film and dialogue. areday.net

4.    Aspen Music Festival and School’s Symphony of a Thousand Aug. 19, 2012 - Maestro Robert Spano closes the 63rd season, “Made in America,” with Mahler’s monumental Symphony of a Thousand, performed by a fittingly all-American ensemble including an orchestra, eight soloists and three choruses. http://www.aspenmusicfestival.com

5.    Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Stage Race, Aug. 20-23, 2012 - Conceived and organized by Aspen local and U.S. Women’s cycling champion Jessica Phillips, the Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Challenge will include upgrades this year, including expanding from a three-stage to a four-stage race for eighty elite women racers, doubling the number of participants from last year. http://www.aspenwomensprorace.com

6.    MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen, Aug. 23-26, 2012 - Now in its fourth year, Mountainfilm in Aspen is a unique collaboration between Mountainfilm in Telluride and the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. Featuring award-winning documentaries, the event includes talks from some of the most interesting artists, activists and adventurers working on the planet today. wheeleroperahouse.com

7.    Power of Four Mountain Bike Race, Aug. 25, 2012 - This distinctive race combines the four mountains that make up the town—Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands—into one challenging course. This mix of terrain covers more than 10,000 feet of climbing and will test even the fittest riders and relay teams. aspensnowmass.com

8.    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Encore Performance, Aug. 25, 2012 - Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is an internationally acclaimed professional dance company, bringing dance to Aspen year-round. The encore performance closes the summer season with an entirely different second program featuring a collection of audience favorites: Uneven, by Cayetano Soto, Nicolo Fonte's breathtaking In Hidden Seconds; and Jiri Kylian's charming Sechs Tanze. aspensantafeballet.com

9.    Aspen Backcountry Marathon, Aug. 26, 2012 - Utilizing the amazing trails that surround Aspen, this full marathon is run almost exclusively on dirt trails. Even the most seasoned athlete will feel challenged as tough ascents, exciting descents and a wide diversity in terrain make for an epic race. Participants finish in the heart of town, greeted by enthusiastic spectators and Aspen Backcountry vendor booths. http://www.aspenbackcountrymarathon.com

10.    40th Annual Motherlode Volleyball Classic, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3 - Seven hundred teams from all over the country square off at seven sites. Enjoy the sport with beverage concessions and music on site. http://www.motherlodevolleyball.com

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About Aspen
Aspen's plethora of warm-weather pursuits pique nearly every passion, from extreme outdoor adventure to world class cultural pursuits, from Colorado’s best fly fishing, to indulgent spa offerings. Whether experiencing the rapids of the Roaring Fork River (running directly through the center of Aspen), to scaling the rock walls up Independence Pass, or biking on picturesque trails, there is an activity for everyone to savor Aspen’s stunning mountain scenery and experience “the good life.”

For more information, a complete calendar of events, or to book an Aspen vacation, visit http://www.aspenchamber.org, or call 800-670-0788.

About the USA Pro Challenge
For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure as they ascend over three mountain passes, each exceeding 12,000 ft. in elevation. After attracting more than 1 million spectators in 2011, making it one of the largest cycling events in U.S. history, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2012. Featuring a challenging, 683-mile course with more than 42,000 ft. of vertical climbing, the second annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.

Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 20-26, 2012, a week proclaimed by Governor John Hickenlooper as “Colorado Cycling Holiday,” and travel through 12 host cities from Durango to Denver. More information can be found online at http://www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.

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Sarah-Jane Johnson
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