Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel employee Kyle St. John, left, helps visitor Sharynne Wilson check in to the hotel Wednesday afternoon. Area lodging properties are expecting about 3,000 visitors Saturday night, a decrease in numbers from the corresponding weekend in 2006.

Photo by Brian Ray

Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel employee Kyle St. John, left, helps visitor Sharynne Wilson check in to the hotel Wednesday afternoon. Area lodging properties are expecting about 3,000 visitors Saturday night, a decrease in numbers from the corresponding weekend in 2006.

Holiday tourism numbers down

Lodging properties expect more than 3,000 visitors despite no skiing

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— When you're planning to get hitched in Steamboat Springs during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, snow conditions aren't a deal breaker.

Despite the fact that the Steamboat Ski Area delayed its scheduled opening from Wednesday to Nov. 30, more than 3,000 visitors are planning to check into area lodging properties Saturday night. Among them are the members of a wedding party staying at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

Hotel spokesperson Heidi Thomsen said the Steamboat Grand expects a variety of guests this weekend, with no dominant group business.

Mountain hotels are expected to be 22 percent full, according to the Lodging Barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. That number actually is four points ahead of the projections for the corresponding Saturday in 2006, and the ski trails were open for Thanksgiving last year.

Resort-wide, the Chamber projected 3,900 guests would be in town Nov. 25, 2006, but the actual tourism numbers grew to 4,900.

This year's projected 3,000 visitors are down 23 percent from last year.

Thomsen took the fact that 3,000 people are coming in spite of the lack of Alpine skiing as a sign that people come here for a variety of activities.

Barbara Robinson, general manager of the Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs, said her business this holiday weekend is flat over last year, but this is not a particularly important weekend for her business."

The lack of Alpine skiing hasn't cost her reservations, she said. But that's partly because she has her regular business clients coming through this weekend.

"We have one family that is coming to enjoy the Strawberry Park Hot Springs," Robinson said.

In other categories of the lodging industry, mountain condominiums are expected to be 20 percent full and downtown motels are expected to reach 30 percent.

Actual occupancy rates for Nov. 25, 2006, grew to 47 percent with late arrivals.

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