Reservations at Steamboat's major hotels are down slightly tonight, but the condominium developments at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area are 92 percent full, and advance reservations show the condos are 91 percent full for Feb. 19.
Steamboat's downtown lodging properties are virtually full tonight -- the lodging barometer projects an occupancy rate of 99 percent.
"We are completely full both (Friday) and (tonight)," Greg Golaszewski said about the 40-unit Nordic Lodge on Lincoln Avenue. His guests will be able to walk a block to watch this weekend's Winter Carnival street events.
Steamboat Chamber Resorts Association spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said she noticed the effect of arriving vacationers on Mount Werner on Friday morning. Polumbus writes a "ski experience" column and posts it on the Internet regularly.
"I was up skiing at 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and it was quiet," Polumbus said. "I went into Thunderhead to write my report and post a photo to the Internet, and I noticed there was already a crowd getting off the gondola. When I finished, there was still a crowd coming off the gondola."
The lodging barometer prepared by the Chamber Resort Association projects that 13,600 visitors will spend tonight here. That number is down 200 from the corresponding Saturday in 2004. The drop can be attributed to the hotels at the base of the ski area, which are expected to be 88 percent full tonight compared with 96 percent on Feb. 14, 2004. Hotel occupancy was driven by a number of conventions taking place in Steamboat at this time last year.
The figures for condominiums for today are up three points from last year. The percent growth for next Saturday is greater. Steamboat's condos were just 73 percent full on Feb. 21, 2004.
The weekend of Feb. 19 is the three-day Presidents' Day weekend, traditionally one of the busiest three-day periods of the ski season.
By Wednesday, the number of visitors in town is expected to be 9,700, 400 more than last year at the same time. The condominiums will be 67 percent full, and the hotels will be 74 percent full.
Polumbus said she talked to several resort managers during a break in a meeting Friday afternoon and their sense was that travelers are taking advantage of favorable airfares this winter, and ski resorts are reaping the benefits.
The lodging barometer is not a scientific survey of Steamboat's tourism levels but an informal poll meant to help lodge and restaurant managers staff their businesses.
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