Tourney, condo numbers drop

Fewer Triple Crown players show in reduced occupancy

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Steamboat Springs is in the midst of the second of three straight weeks of Triple Crown youth baseball World Series events. And the drop in the number of participating teams each week is beginning to show up in condominium occupancy.

Steamboat innkeepers are preparing to host 11,300 people Saturday night, down 800 from the corresponding Saturday in 2002. Mountain condos are expected to be 70 percent full compared with 86 percent full last summer on this date.

Triple Crown forms the base of Steamboat's summer tourism, but a deliberate shift this year has reduced the number of participating teams by as much as 40 to 50 in each of the three World Series weekends in July.

Triple Crown moved a girls fast pitch softball tournament out of Steamboat to Park City, Utah, this year. The move was calculated to create more room to expand both the girls softball tournament and the boys baseball tournaments that remain in Steamboat.

Kathy Connell, who wears two hats as president of the Steamboat Springs City Council, and a principal in Colorado Resort Services, a property management firm, confirmed the trend. She said Triple Crown's limited schedule this summer has hurt business at mountain condominiums.

"Triple Crown's contract is 30 percent reduced this year," Connell said. "It's had a dramatic impact. They were the families -- they were the ones who filled the condos at the mountain."

Connell said that while town is bustling with traffic on the weekends, condominium managers are hurting from shorter vacation visits that leave their properties relatively empty at mid-week.

Saturday marks the 11th week of Steamboat's summer season. The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer projects the resort's 19,150 pillows will be 74 percent full Saturday night. That number is 6 percent behind last year and about 15 percent below the summer of 2001.

Comparisons of percent occupancy from year to year can be misleading because the percentages are influenced by the fact that Steamboat has more guest rooms than it did two summers ago.

Triple Crown's Web site shows it will host 73 baseball teams and members of their families this week. The division for 14-year-olds sold out, however, divisions for 10-year-olds and 18-year-olds did not.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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