Steamboat Springs The coming weekend may kick off what proves to be the busiest week of the ski season.
The lodging barometer released by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates 12,213 skiers in town Saturday night. A more significant number may be the 11,616 vacationers expected here on Wednesday. That number is 20 percentage points ahead of the corresponding Wednesday in March 2001.
"It's because it's Easter break," Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans-Hall said. "We anticipated it would be pretty much the busiest week of the year. Most of these people are coming for a longer stay as well."
The more than 12,000 people here Saturday night are enough to achieve an 81 percent occupancy rate in Steamboat's overall bed base. It compares to Saturday, March 24, 2001, when the chamber anticipated 10,984 people in town. The town was 75 percent full on that date last year.
Mountain condominiums will be 80 percent full Saturday night. That's better than last year, but they get a big bounce on Wednesday, when they climb to 89 percent occupancy. That compares to March 28, 2001, when mountain condos were just 53 percent full.
Downtown lodging properties will be just 53 percent full Saturday night, but the chamber expects them to hang onto that occupancy through midweek. Last year, they had slipped to 36 percent occupancy at midweek.
Evans-Hall said she expects late ski season tourism to remain pretty strong through the following weekend and into the first week in April. An early snapshot projects at least 10,000 people will be checked into local lodging properties on March 30.