7,500 planning to be in Steamboat for spring skiing | SteamboatToday.com

7,500 planning to be in Steamboat for spring skiing

Warm weather could inspire multiple sport weekend

Kate Donnelly flies off a jump Thursday morning at Rabbit Ears Terrain Park at Steamboat Ski Area. Tourists and locals alike soaked up another warm, sunny day with circuits through the terrain park.

— With valley temperatures forecast to rise into the 60s on Saturday, the 7,500 people expected to spend the night in town will have the option of combining spring skiing with other outdoor pursuits.

The key could be timing the sweet spot on the ski trails at Steamboat Ski Area with other activities.

"Ski conditions should be ideal between noon and 3 p.m." as the snow begins to soften but hasn't turned slushy, said Sean Battiste, of One Stop Ski Shop in downtown Steamboat Springs.

That leaves midmorning for a bicycle ride on the Yampa River Core Trail. Local bicycle shops have blossomed this week like crocuses in the receding snow.

The unseasonably high temperatures have been enough to cause some low-level runoff in the creeks that flow into the Yampa River, but solid overnight freezes are clearing up the streams and the town stretch of the Yampa. Midmorning, when the sun warms the air but the river is continuing to run clear, is the best time to go fishing.

A small weighted stonefly pattern drifting down the edge of a current seam is a good bet to prompt a subtle take from a rainbow trout. Steamboat has three downtown fly shops that can equip vacationing skiers for a day's outing. Search for them at ExploreSteamboat.com.

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Couples with divergent interests can enjoy breakfast downtown and split up with one spouse headed for the sidewalk sale on Lincoln Avenue and side streets while the other spouse heads for the fishing holes a block away between Fifth and 13th streets on Yampa Street.

The sidewalk sale in downtown Steamboat takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Sunday.

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association projects the resort's overnight visitors Saturday will be sufficient to fill 50 percent of local guest accommodations.

The U.S. Highway 40 motels and hotels will be among the busiest at nearly 60 percent occupancy. Mountain condominiums, which wound up being 60 percent full March 17, are projected to be 46 percent full this weekend. But if St. Patrick's Day tourism is an indicator, the resort can expect 600 people or more to make late plans for a spring outing.

The barometer shows that Steamboat's spring skiing season peaked March 10, when 12,400 visitors were in town.

Steamboat Ski Area closes for the season April 15.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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