Steamboat Springs Who wouldn't want to borrow a new BMW sport utility vehicle to impress a dinner date? It's easy to do in Steamboat Springs this winter, but you might have to wait until next weekend.
BMW's fleet of three loaner cars in Steamboat is spoken for this Thursday through Sunday as the Bavarian car maker brings 115 members of its owners appreciation club to town for a long ski weekend. Included in the group are people who have owned as many as six BMWs, and 25 others who won free trips to Steamboat in a special promotion.
BMW is a corporate sponsor of the American Skiing Company, Steamboat's parent company, ski area spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer said. Ski area executives, Chris Diamond, Andy Wirth, Bob Kuusinen and Dennis Baker are all driving gold-colored BMW X5 SUVs this winter as a prerequisite of the sponsorship program. In addition, there are three BMWs on display at the base of the ski area.
But the payoff for the public can be found in the three loaner cars kept in the stable at the Steamboat Grand Hotel. Wiedemer said anyone 25 or older with a valid drivers license is welcome to visit the BMW loaner desk next to the concierge desk in the Steamboat Grand, and check out a car for an hour or two.
People can choose from among the X5 in either the 3.0 liter or 4.4 liter engine size, or the 330XI sedan. The sedan retails for about $34,000. The X5 with the larger engine sells for about $50,000 and the SUV equipped with the smaller engine sells for around $40,000. At the end of the test drive, just drop the car off at the bell stand.
With the exception of this weekend's blackout, the loaner program will continue from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily through April 15, then resume in mid-June for the summer.
The BMW loaner program, formally called the BMW Mountain Driving Tour will be in place again next winter, Wiedemer said.
The public also has a chance to win a BMW through March 29 at the ski area's Web site: www.steamboat.com./bmw.html.