Thursday, December 28, 2000
Steamboat Springs Be prepared to ski around beginners, avoid traffic in town and wait in line if you go out to dinner because this weekend, more tourists will be in Steamboat Springs than possibly any other time during the winter.
The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association forecasted more than 14,000 vacationers spending the weekend in Steamboat Springs, which more than doubles the population of the town.
"Traditionally, this is a pretty full week and weekend," said Kim Mitchell, information technology coordinator for the Chamber.
And more people in town means more patronage for local retail shops and businesses.
The Chamber predicted that 87 percent of all hotel and condo rooms in Steamboat Springs and the surrounding areas will be full on Saturday.
At the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, where many of the tourists are arriving, officials are battening down the hatches.
"It's not exactly going to be business as usual. It's going to be busy," Airport Director Jim Parker said. "If the visibility is good and the weather is all right, our day will tend to go better."
Pete Dawson, manager at One Stop Ski Shop, said he is expecting a rush.
"This usually is our biggest weekend," he said while setting up a tourist with rental ski equipment.
Though numbers are expected to be high, the shop still has equipment to rent.
"We still have plenty of stuff right now," Dawson said.
City Market caters to huge numbers of people because it tends to be a hub for condo dwellers stocking up for the weekend.
"Absolutely," store manager Eric Widner said. "This is a very busy and intense time for us."
Widner increased all of the store's food orders to meet the predicted demand.
For the Steamboat Springs Police Department, more people in town means more police officers on duty, said J.D. Hays, Steamboat director of public safety services.
Most days, the city has two officers on duty at once. But when more people are expected to be in town, Hays said there will be somewhere between four to six officers on shift at a time.
For the most part, large numbers of tourists doesn't exactly mean more calls for the police department, Hays said.
"We have a lot of alcohol- and drug-related offenses in town no matter if it's a big weekend or not," he said.
But there is a potential for people away from home to take things a little too far.
"When people are on vacation, they want to let their hair down. Some people think that means anything goes," Hays said. "Our main concern is that everyone stays safe and acts responsible."