Tourneys filling ballfields, businesses


— More Triple Crown baseball teams will visit Steamboat Springs this weekend than at any other time this summer, and the city's sold-out lodges reflect that. Steamboat's hotels, motels, condos and inns expect to be 88 percent full Saturday, which is 14 percent more than the same weekend last year. That equates to 13,400 visitors, compared with 11,300 a year ago.

The increase in occupancy is partly because of to the 129 Triple Crown youth baseball teams streaming into town. Although Steamboat has hosted Triple Crown in the past, this is the first year World Series games have been held here.

"Those tend to draw more teams, so the event has been a little bigger than previously," said Riley Polumbus, spokeswoman for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

Motorcyclists riding in the Triumph Rat Raid, who come through Steamboat today and Saturday, also boost lodging numbers, she said.

The largest jump in occupancy from last year is predicted for hotels near the ski mountain. Total occupancy at mountain hotels is expected to jump from 73 percent last year to 96 percent this year. At the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, for example, 99 percent of 320 rooms are booked for the weekend.

Ptarmigan Inn also is booked, a phenomenon that has been the prevailing trend through the summer, Ptarmigan Inn employee Tonya Cole said.

Vacancies are equally scarce downtown, where lodges are predicting 95 percent occupancy.

"Summers are usually very good. We get a lot of one-nighters and are really busy," said Beverly Bohecker, front desk employee at the Rabbit Ears Motel.

Restaurants are thriving on the hordes of hungry baseball players and other visitors as well. Cugino's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant is preparing for a large crowd this weekend, Cugino's manager Karen Pussett said

But whether August will continue the summer's busy trend is anybody's guess, Pussett said.

"Generally, Steamboat's visitor numbers drop a little in August, but I can't say for sure," she said.


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