Steamboat Springs Commercial aircraft arriving at Yampa Valley Regional Air--port west of Steamboat Springs were near or at capacity Thursday, and the effects will be felt at area lodges Saturday night.
Resort officials estimated 11,000 people would be in town Jan. 21 --1,500 more than on the corresponding Saturday last year.
The airport was expecting 922 arriving passengers Thursday, with 393 booked on return flights. Flights on United Express from Denver were running as much as an hour late Thursday morning as snow and equipment issues hampered the turboprops. However, larger jets from Dallas, Houston and Minneapolis were within a few minutes of being on time for their scheduled midday arrivals.
The lodging barometer prepared by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association projected that this would be the busiest third weekend in January in three years. Mountain hotels are expected to be at nearly 80 percent occupancy, and mountain condominiums will be 66 percent full Saturday.
Tourism is expected to continue ahead of last year Wednesday, when 9,000 visitors are expected to spend the night. That's 700 more vacationers than last winter.