Steamboat Springs Near-perfect weather brought carloads of weekend travelers to Steamboat Springs for the traditional Memorial Day kickoff to the summer tourist season.
"We couldn't have had a better start for summer," said Peter Baillie, an employee at Steamboat Lake Marina. "We were jamming and it gives a nice shot in the arm business-wise."
Baillie's comments were typical of area business people.
Debbie Truitt, front-desk clerk at the Ramada Hilltop, said the Ramada was full all weekend. She said one guest told her he had been coming to Steamboat for Memorial Day for the past seven years and had never seen it this busy.
"A lot of people have been hiking Fish Creek Falls, so it's been good that the weather has been nice," Truitt said. "Many people also come to Steamboat to have a nice and relaxing weekend."
Toni Couch, an employee of KOA Ski Time Campground on U.S. 40 west of Steamboat, said about 75 percent of their campsites were occupied.
"A lot of people waited to see what the weather was going to do, so we had a lot of late stragglers," she said, adding that brief rainstorms prompted several campers to move their tents away from the river.
Marinas and campgrounds at Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach Reservoir also were busy.
Ski boats were humming, waterskis were jumping and wakeboards were cruising all weekend long.
Cathy Wickum, an employee at Stagecoach Marina, said campgrounds there were full and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Baillie said all of the lower loop campgrounds at Steamboat Lake were full for the weekend. He said Sunday was the best day for business, with all of the marina's boats rented through the day until a rainstorm hit the area about 5 p.m.
Baillie attributed the busy weekend to the good weather, to the fact that the ice had melted from the lake three weeks earlier than normal, and to Denver television stations forecasting good weather for northwest Colorado throughout the week.
Most of the fishing licenses that Baillie issued were to people from the Front Range.
According to the National Weather Service, weekend temperatures in the Steamboat area were in the 70s and 80s.
Rand Coones, a front-desk clerk at the Holiday Inn, believes that the enjoyable temperatures are what brought travelers into the Steamboat area. The Holiday Inn had about 60 of its 82 rooms occupied, Coones said. He said most of the guests came up on the spur of the moment.
"I had people drive up from Denver for the day because of the great weather," Coones said.
The Days Inn doesn't see business getting steadily busy until the middle of June, said owner Bobby Amin. The month of June is when activities, such as the Steamboat Marathon, bring in a lot of their business.
Baillie considers Father's Day as the beginning of summer for Steamboat Lake because by then children are out of school and parents have time to clean out the motorhomes and get their camping gear ready.