Thursday, February 22, 2007
Steamboat Springs If you ever wanted to run a 50-mile race up Mount Werner, along the Continental Divide and down Rabbit Ears Pass, Sept. 15 is your chance.
Numerous new events - including the "Steamboat Springs 50" ultramarathon, three weeks of "Arts for the Soul" workshops and a family-oriented festival - are coming to Steamboat Springs this summer and fall, as part of a continued effort to make the city a year-round destination and help local businesses survive off-season lags.
"The longer we can extend our tourist season, the better it is for businesses," said Tracy Barnett, program manager for Main Street Steamboat Springs. "Steamboat is an event-driven economy in the summer. We get some 'stumble by' traffic, but we don't get a lot of that - people come here for a reason in the summer."
There will be plenty of reasons to visit Steamboat in 2007.
Tuesday night, the Steamboat Springs City Council finalized partial, grant-style funding from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for more than 20 events from May to September. Main Street is planning an expanded, weekly farmer's market and a "construction kickoff" in late May or early June that Barnett said will celebrate Steamboat's many building projects with festive, downtown events.
The list of Chamber funding recipients includes Steamboat traditions such as the Professional Bull Riders event Sept. 2, the Downtown Hoedown on Sept. 15 and the Steamboat Running Series, which continues throughout the summer and this year features the U.S. Track & Field 10k Trail Championship, a national team qualifying race scheduled for June 30 at Steamboat Ski Area.
The Chamber is contributing to a Sept. 22 revival of the Steamboat Brewers' Festival and Lee's Wild West Show, an Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 event that will be similar to a Western show staged two years ago by F.M. Light & Sons.
Sandy Evans Hall, executive vice-president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said the new Western show will be a youth-oriented event featuring roping acts and even a simulated shootout.
"Labor Day weekend is an important weekend for all of us," Evans Hall said. "We would love to get it back to the point where it was during the vintage auto race."
Evans Hall said while the vintage auto races ended in the late 1990s, many independent event coordinators are working to create new local traditions.
"I think we're going to be very busy," she said Wednesday. "With exciting new things and favorite old things, Steamboat is going to be a fun place to be this summer."
Barnett stressed the importance of events that fall outside of the July 4 to mid-August "peak season," such as the Paddling Life Pro Invitational kayak rodeo May 28.
"As much as we like our downtime, that doesn't keep people employed in the shoulder seasons," Barnett said. "So many businesses are run by the owners in shoulder seasons, so they don't have to hire staff - things are certainly better than they used to be, but it's still not enough to keep people employed year-round."
Tuesday night, Councilman Steve Ivancie joked about a potential economic boost from the new ultramarathon.
"This will be very good for businesses," he said. "The runners tend to be very hungry when they're done."
- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203
or e-mail email@example.com