Shoulder season lessening

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Steamboat Springs saw more big gains in sales tax revenues in October.

The city collected $1.13 million in October. That's a 17 percent increase over October 2005. For the year, Steamboat revenues are 12.35 percent ahead of last year.

Historically October is the fourth smallest month for the city in terms of sales tax revenues, but the large increase might be further evidence that the shoulder season is becoming less of a shoulder season, said Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. Steamboat is becoming more of a year-round resort.

"October is not a big month, but an increase is still good," Hall said.

Miscellaneous retail and lodging showed increases of nearly 20 percent for October compared to October 2005.

"I heard from a lot of people in lodging that they were seeing a lot of hunters," Hall said.

It was difficult for hunters to get hotel rooms in Craig, Hall said, because people working in the energy industry were occupying them. A lot more hunters therefore stayed in Steamboat.

Hall said she thought construction helped drive the increase in lodging as well as retail.

"There is a lot of construction going on and that increases retail as well," she said.

The biggest jump in any of the six categories that are tracked as sources of sales tax revenue was from sporting goods. Sales tax revenues related to sporting goods was up 65 percent in October compared to October 2005, bringing in $46,836.

Ski Haus owner Rod Schrage said sales have been steady and maybe up a little compared to last year. October was a big month for the store this year, but Schrage said that was because Ski Haus held its annual winter sale in October instead of September.

"It's a very big sale for us and it really shows," Schrage said.

Ski Haus's decision to move its sale also may explain why sporting goods sales tax revenues were down by 4 percent in September compared to September 2005.

By region, the mountain area and the U.S. Highway 40 corridor posted the biggest increases. The Highway 40 corridor, which accounted for more than half of sales tax revenues, was up 31 percent in October over October 2005. The mountain area was up 20 percent.

Hall also said good weather was a contributing factor in the encouraging October numbers.

"We get a lot of Front Range visitors when the weather is good," Hall said.

Compared to other mountain communities, Steamboat has had consistent gains.

Aspen's revenues were down nearly 7 percent in October, while Vail had a 2 percent increase. Breckenridge had just over a 9 percent increase.

Glenwood Springs and Snowmass have been experiencing significant growth. Glenwood Springs saw an increase of 31 percent for October and Snowmass saw an increase of 30 percent.

-To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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