Tourists boost local business

Visitors in town over holiday weekend push sales up

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— Locals who skied or rode on Saturday realized what it meant to have an estimated 13,600 people visiting Steamboat Springs for the Presidents Day weekend.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association loosely forecast that count for the weekend, saying 90 percent of the lodging in town was filled.

On Saturday morning, the gondola line was well out into the courtyard, while the Christie Lift had a line out to the adjacent parking lot.

Though the crowds created havoc for some locals, it meant a strong weekend in sales for area businesses.

"It's been real busy," said Chris Peters, manager of Slopeside Grill. "We're usually on a half-hour wait during lunch."

Peters said the restaurant was taking reservations months in advance for the Presidents Day weekend.

Across the slopes at Grubstake Rib House & Bar, the crowds were steady but not record-breaking.

"I've seen busier Presidents Day weekends," manager Camille Flynn said. "But we're doing all right."

She said sunny conditions on the weekend means fewer people want to sit inside at the restaurant. However, the restaurant had a waiting list on Sunday, she said.

Flynn added that she drove to Denver Friday night and was awed by the number of cars driving from the Front Range into the Yampa Valley.

"It was nonstop traffic," she said.

The Christy Sports at Clock Tower Square also saw much traffic.

"An absolute ton of people came in to rent skis," said Ron Schnackenberg, an employee of the store. "This is the busiest weekend since I've been at the shop."

Schnackenberg has worked at the shop since January.

Downtown, the large crowds set a record at Creekside Cafe & Grill.

"We've been packed," owner Kelly Landers said.

She estimated the restaurant seated 350 parties in one day in a room with 35 tables.

"We've had record-breaking sales," she said.

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