Summer tourism begins

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More than 7,000 visitors will check into Steamboat lodging properties tonight, and the trend promises to continue through June.

The Steamboat Springs Marathon is driving tourism this weekend, and lodging properties are expected to be 47 percent full compared with 20 percent the corresponding Saturday in 2003. However, that figure is misleading because the marathon is being held five days later this year.

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association forecasts that downtown lodging properties will be nearly full tonight, and mountain hotels will be 52 percent full. The lodging barometer, released Wednesdays, is not a scientific survey, but a sampling of key properties meant to give business owners a sense of the staffing levels they will need this weekend.

Steamboat has a resort bed base of 18,775 pillows. The number of visitors here Wednesday is forecast to drop to 3,200 people, still 600 ahead of the corresponding Wednesday last year.

Early reports for June 12 anticipate 7,200 people will be in town, compared with 7,900 last year.

Steamboat's resort calendar is busy in June.

The Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat Bike Race is a mountain bike event that will take place June 12 and 13 and requires teams of cyclists to ride around the clock on Mount Werner. The Yampa River Festival and Triple Crown's first youth fast pitch softball tournament of the season are the same weekend.

The Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo kicks off its summer season June 18 at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena, the same weekend as the 15th annual Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup and another Triple Crown tournament.

The Colorado Municipal League will bring 600 to 700 people to the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel for its annual conference, June 22 through 26. Typically, attendees bring family members to the convention.

The Ride the Rockies tour (June 22 and 23) and the 10th annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado (June 29 and 30) bring hundreds of cyclists to town. Both tours have planned stopover days in Steamboat that give participants the ability to reunite with family and friends here for a day of relaxation in the midst of the cycling marathons.

Strings in the Mountains will have a special opening celebration in its new location with an "open tent" concert June 25 and a concert by Grammy- and Oscar-winner Randy Newman on June 26.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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