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Hotel bookings down in Aspen. Will prices follow?

Opportunities for mere mortals to drink from the chalice of fancy that is Aspen could be on the rise this winter, if early-season hotel-booking numbers are any indication. A report released last week by Aspen-Snowmass showed a dip in occupancy in October and projected occupancy for November at those resorts. From the Snowmass Sun:

It projects 13 percent occupancy next week, compared to 21 percent based on bookings made by the same point last year. Actual occupancy for the final week of October 2008 wound up at 23 percent.

Bookings for November, a slow month for the resort by any standard, are also running behind last year's pace. Reservations made by Oct. 15 indicate a 9 percent occupancy rate for the first week of November, compared to 16 percent in 2008, based on bookings made by the same point last year. Actual occupancy for the first week of November 2008 was 29 percent -- the highest for the month.

The lingering questions: Will those rooms stay empty through the winter? Will prices come down with the occupancy rate? And do you even care, or does the playground-for-the-rich thing just make you want to stab someone with their cuff links?

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