Jim Engelken, left, and his daughter Elisa play outside their house on Pamela Lane in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon. Engelken strongly opposes Triple Crown's proposed use of the Emerald Park fields because of the increased traffic that would occur on Pamela Lane, which leads to the park.

Photo by Brian Ray

Jim Engelken, left, and his daughter Elisa play outside their house on Pamela Lane in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon. Engelken strongly opposes Triple Crown's proposed use of the Emerald Park fields because of the increased traffic that would occur on Pamela Lane, which leads to the park.

Triple Crown tears council

City attorney to draft ordinance that excludes use of Emerald Park

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— A divided Steamboat Springs City Council directed City Attorney Tony Lettunich on Tuesday to draft an ordinance extending the city's contract with Triple Crown Sports without including the use of Emerald Park.

Council President Loui Antonucci made a motion that Lettunich craft an ordinance that would allow the use of Emerald Park as a last resort only after other alternatives are explored. That motion failed, 4-3, but Lettunich said that while the "bare-bones extension" will not permit the use of Emerald Park, the sports tourism company's use of it is a possibility that still is on the table.

"That will be an open question," Lettunich said during a break of Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Council will have about a month to flesh out the question. The ordinance is scheduled for a first reading April 15. A second reading with possible adoption of the ordinance would take place April 29, at the earliest. Council members Antonucci, Cari Hermacinski and Scott Myller voted in favor of the failed motion, with council members Meg Bentley, Steve Ivancie, Jon Quinn and Walter Magill voting against it.

Triple Crown has requested the use of Emerald Park from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. four days a week for a three-week period in 2009 and 2010. Emerald Park, adjacent to Yampa River Botanic Park, has been reserved for local use since it was built a decade ago. The proposal forces City Council to weigh the city's past promises and the concerns of some residents against the prospect of losing the most significant driver of Steamboat's summer economy.

Residents of the park's lone vehicular access, Pamela Lane, say they were promised by a former City Council that Triple Crown would never be allowed to use the park. No record of such a promise could be found in the materials provided to City Council prior to Tuesday's meeting, but Pamela Lane resident and former councilman Jim Engelken assured that they were made.

"I was one of the council members who made these promises, and I can assure you that they were made," Engelken told the council. "You are the only ones who can determine whether these promises should be upheld. : This is an issue of the integrity of council."

A 1996 city ordinance designating approved uses for the park says it is for "youth activities exclusively." Dick Randolph said that while Triple Crown's tournaments are for kids, they shouldn't qualify.

"Triple Crown is not a youth program," Randolph said. "It's a business. A business is something else."

Triple Crown supporters urged City Council not to jeopardize the city's summer economy at a time of national economic uncertainty. A study released in May 2007 by Denver-based consultants Corona Research found that Triple Crown brings about 32,000 visitors and $1.19 million in tax revenues to Northwest Colorado each summer.

"Now is not the time to gamble or take risks with this city's economics," Kevin Kaminski said.

Public comment was emotional on both sides, with points for and against Triple Crown drawing applause from different segments of the audience. For a City Council that has seen unanimous votes and short meetings as the norm in its first months, the difficulty of Tuesday's meeting was evident in the faces, voices and body language of council members.

Ivancie took the hardest line against Triple Crown. He said he is unwilling to consider any extension of Triple Crown's contract because he would prefer to renegotiate the whole thing.

"We keep coming up with Band-Aids," Ivancie said. "We keep looking a few years down the road. This council member is frankly tired of it. : I would prefer to see us renegotiate the contract rather than keep kicking the can down the road."

Ivancie and Bentley were the only two members who unequivocally said they would not support Triple Crown's use of Emerald Park.

"It sets the scene for citizens not to trust their government," Bentley said.

Myller, Hermacinski and Anotnucci, however, said Triple Crown is so vital to Steamboat's financial health that a reconsideration of a past council's commitment is warranted.

"I totally support Triple Crown," Myller said. "I think it's a great part of our economy. I personally love how it brings middle America to Steamboat. : This is a really tough issue. I'm so torn for the residents of Pamela Lane. But I think 12 days a year for two years - I think it's worth the price. I'd be willing to sign them up for '09 and '10.

Matt Van Alsburg, Triple Crown's World Series director, could not say whether the use of Emerald Park was an absolute deal-breaker for Triple Crown continuing in Steamboat after this summer, but he did say the company would be willing to entertain alternate proposals.

Comments

GuyOnABike 6 years, 8 months ago

No Triple Crown in Emeral Park!! It is time to STOP subsidising this group so that we can benefit from more T-Shirt shops and more traffic. There was a promise from previous City Councils that the park would never be used for this.

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scooter 6 years, 8 months ago

Do you people honestly think that Triple Crown's exit from Steamboat will bankrupt the town?

I seriously doubt it. It's their usual scare tactic.

"Now is not the time to gamble or take risks with this city's economics," Kevin Kaminski said.

SIT DOWN KEVIN!!!

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STEMBOATwannabe 6 years, 8 months ago

If there are provisions made to allow TC to use Emerald Park then the city council can also put some of their own requirements into play.

  1. a blockade with attendant ( for all the hours of TC use, and one hour prior to use and one hour after as well) at the corner to prevent unwanted or uncessary traffic on Pamela Lane. (This should be paid for by TC)

  2. Off site parking and a shuttle to the park. (Also to be provided by TC)

  3. No parking signage along the street to allow residents the ability to keep their lawns and yards clear of debris. (TC should also utimately pay for these as well)

If they are going to be allowed to take over, then there are also some concessions that residents need to request. Be proactive and protect your investment.

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jeannie berger 6 years, 8 months ago

Triple Crown is like the camel with its nose in the tent. Every year they need just a little more or they threaten to take their business elsewhere. Where does it end? There is nothing wrong with limiting the scope and number of participants. The boat can only make room for so many people, when it is to full it is not pleasant for any of us, tourist or local.

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kielyj 6 years, 8 months ago

My name is Jack Kiely. I was president of the Little League and a member of the Parks Commission when the fields at Emerald Park were built. Many people were involved in getting the fields built; volunteers local businesses, the city government. The reason the fields needed to be built was that the kids in Steamboat were not allowed to use the fields at Howelson or the tennis center. Any Chamber of Commerce event drove the kids form the fields- Mustang car conventions, Triple Crown Soccer, Triple Crown softball to name a few. The fields at Emerald Park were to be dedicated for the use of Steamboat kids; commercial activities would then be able to use the other facilities as made sense. We have strong baseball and soccer programs now. I know of at least three kids who have played college baseball. There are many soccer players in the same situation. I would like to think that all of our efforts to give the kids a place to play have borne fruit.

The agreement with Pamela Lane was that there would be no lights and that the fields would not be used for anything but youth activities. The reason that the enabling document did not say only Steamboat kids could use the fields was twofold; The Steamboat Soccer Association would use the fields for their annual tournament and local Baseball and soccer teams would not be restricted in having out of town teams on the fields to play games It was clear that there were to be no commercial events and that Triple Crown was explictly barred.. Words were spoken promises were made-to the residents of Pamela Lane, the folks that worked very hard to make the fields a reality and most importantly to the kids.

What has changed? Nothing. If Triple Crown is allowed on the fields they will take them over. The idea of a change in access was explored ad nauseum ten years ago. Unless things have changed drastically there is no feasible solution that does not involve the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars. A temporary use permit pending access changes is a Trojan horse. Our kids will be out again.

Mr. Lanning "views it in a larger context". There is no larger context. The Babbits in town have only one thing in mind and that is their bottom line. The endless debate about whether Triple Crown is good for Steamboat does not interest me. If TCS is a good investment for the town then invest in it. Build some fields. If not send them on their way. If we allow the boosters and the Babbits to renege on promises made and steal from our kids then we are as vulgar, greedy and ignorant as they seem to think we are.

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localboy17 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with "STEAMBOATwannabe". It is unfair to the communtiy service officers whom waste 4 days of every week during triple crown to deal with the idiots it brings. Money or not it is a burden on the people that the city puts in charge of handling parking, traffic, and comliants by the millions from the triple crown parents and coaches and players. TC should have to provide their own parking outside of the complex, no exceptions and payed for by TC. TC should provide a shuttle. TC is unfair to steamboat and its locals in so many ways. They abuse the people who work traffic and parking, they absolutely take over all of downtown and river road, and the worst part about TC is that they think they are entitled to it. I think the money is a good thing, but they should deal with the rest (parking, shuttle). It is a privilage to use and to be in steamboat, not a given right for triple crown. TC should treat the community accordingly with something other than dollars.

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factsfirst 6 years, 8 months ago

I would like to propose that a residential property tax that would generate roughly $1.19M per year in tax revenue be brought to an emergency vote. That should be - what? - about $50 a year per dwelling?

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Mark Traum 6 years, 8 months ago

The fields were intentionally developed/spec'd-out and built precisely too small to allow for Triple Crown Play (TC). This design was implemented to ensure the TC could not lay a hand and have dibs on these most exclusive fields. That was the deal cut with Pam Lane Residents. Engleken was a part of teh council and is not one to lie!

Attaboy Kiely!!

Nice try TC!!

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Mark Traum 6 years, 8 months ago

The fields were intentionally developed/spec'd-out and built precisely too small to allow for Triple Crown Play (TC). This design was implemented to ensure the TC could not lay a hand and have dibs on these most exclusive fields. That was the deal cut with Pam Lane Residents. Engleken was a part of the council and is not one to lie!

Attaboy Kiely!!

Nice try TC!!

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 8 months ago

I've been on the fence with this subject but I think it's time Steamboat cut it's ties with this fiasco.

The demand for Steamboat is incredible in the summer. If TC leaves then there is suddenly a greater supply of space to fill and other groups will fill it.

You have to look at what the opportunity cost of the TC? How many groups avoid this town because they know it's filled with screaming teenagers?

I think the best solution would to let Hayden pursue it. Steamboat would still have some economic benefit but it would have less direct impact on our community.

A slow transition out of Steamboat to a growing Hayden makes sense IMO.

I enjoy sports but Steamboat is changing. Whether we like it or not a higher end clientele is coming.

If this is all about tax dollars than the city should focus on bringing in events that will bring in higher tax revenues with less strain on the local community.

What good is an event that drives locals away from it's own community?

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factsfirst 6 years, 8 months ago

It is wise to come forward with solutions when you come forward with problems and/or complaints. It is important to recognize that the services offered to citizens of any given municipality must have a funding source. We are currently capitalizing on the fact that we have something that people want. We have chosen to share it with outsiders and we have chosen to let the majority (over 60%) of our services be paid for by those outsiders - through sales tax dollars. Those municipal services include not only ball fields and recreational amenities, but schools, community centers, police, fire, library, roads, snow removal, bus service, etc. Many of our own citizens send their sales tax dollars to other cities to buy things that they either can't or choose not to buy locally, without even understanding that the loss of their sales tax dollars has an impact on our community services.

So, we basically have 2 choices: 1) Agree to pay our own way in the form of property tax as well as shopping locally or 2) Play nice with others. I do agree with ColoNative that we may need to find new friends if our current friends are being bullies & aren't really "playing nice" with us. Conflict resolution, however, is typically better for all parties.

My personal opinion is that we are currently at capacity for what we can offer this particular friend - or partner. The conflict resolution, from what I heard last night, does include increasing our current capacity in a neighboring city and might need to include a temporary measure to maintain the partnership. Sacrifices for any temporary measure should be equally absorbed from both partners.

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elk2 6 years, 8 months ago

ColoradoNative hit the nail on the head "What good is an event that drives locals away from it's own community" We find ourselves spending money outside this community because we can't use our own amenities. We don't need TC to survive.

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Mark_Louden 6 years, 8 months ago

There's a way to bypass Pamela Lane, south of the Hampton, of course it would require a new railroad crossing, but it should have been done years ago. That quite family street doesn't need to be bothered with Triple Crown traffic anymore.

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longtimelocal 6 years, 8 months ago

Enough already!

We have attempted for years to deal with the increased traffic, congestion, and all around rudeness of the TC crowd. And, all this for the benefit of a handful of businesses and our wonderful chamber, whose job it is to make sure we are jam packed all year long. I, for one, as a long time (40 years) property owner would finally be for looking at a real estate tax if it meant we could cut ties with some of the sales tax revenue driven ventures such as TC. Let them go people, it will be ok. If your business is sustainable and has a good product, it will live on.

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grundy 6 years, 8 months ago

ColoradoNative brings up a very good point in suggesting the pursuit of higher end clientele. The major argument in support of TC is economic stimulation. Opposition seems to be driven primarily by local desire to preserve the Steamboat we have come to love. My observations over the course of the last 10 years, and especially the last 5, lead me to conclude there is either no real committment to preserving Steamboat's character or there is a large disconnect in terms of what we percieve as worth preserving. One thing seems pretty clear to me, though. If the option exists to bring in the same amount of sales tax revenue with smaller, more affluent crowds, we should pursue it. If it's about business & money, then it's not about catering to middle-class America; it's about maximizing tourist revenue while minimizing the cost to the local community. I'd say the TC crowd is clearly Steamboat's least wanted viewed in this context.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 8 months ago

FactsFirst

"Many of our own citizens send their sales tax dollars to other cities to buy things that they either can't or choose not to buy locally, without even understanding that the loss of their sales tax dollars has an impact on our community services."

Well the lack of competition results in consumers getting ripped off which results in people shopping online or making a trip to Costco/Home Depot.

But hey we need to protect main street steamboat from competition right?

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 8 months ago

Hmm..So is Dedee Sorenson really the person making the most from the triple crown?

I admit I'm not familiar with all the details of the TC. I guess she owns the franchise for Colorado?

http://www.triplecrownsports.com/baseball.asp

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factsfirst 6 years, 8 months ago

That is an excellent point ColoNative. There are prices to pay for ALL decisions we make - including - yes - allowing or not allowing Large Format Retail. On the one hand we want to preserve our small town character - on the other, we want competitive shopping. On one hand we don't want property taxes - on the other - we don't want to support our economy with our own sales tax dollars because we can get products cheaper somewhere else. We are accountable for all our decisions. I for one, love Target.com and I won't shop at our local Wal-Mart. I am voting with my spending power, as is everyone who chooses to shop where they shop. I also understand the consequence of that decision and would be in support of a city property tax on residential property to pay for my fair share of community amenities and services. I am also in favor of continuing to share our town with tourists who like what we have to offer and are willing to spend their money here. I agree with many of you that if a particular tourist group becomes a burden more than an asset to our community, we should let them go somewhere else and we should seek new relationships with different tourist groups. I don't know if I'm ready to suffer the potential consequence of letting one group go without a plan of how to fill in the financial gap, particularly during a redevelopment time of our ski base - which is our primary funding source.

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bocal 6 years, 8 months ago

Here's a great idea. Let's add the following property taxes to make up for TC getting the hell out of town: $50 to cover the lost tax revenues $657 to cover the lost economic impact (restaurants, gas, etc) $145 to cover lost jobs (welfare for those who lose summer jobs) $45 to cover potential new winter visitors

That's only $897 for locals to come up with each year! Why didn't we think of this earlier!!! Triple Crown needs to get out.

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BoatMaster 6 years, 8 months ago

I would suggest that everyone sends a email directly to each city council member regardless of what side of the issue you take. This way they can get a feel for what we all want or think about this issue.

I know they don't have to listen to our opinions, but its worth a try.

Here is a link to all the email addresses

http://steamboatsprings.net/index.php?id=108

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armchairqb 6 years, 8 months ago

Good Luck sending an e-mail to any city council member. I did it once & never rec'd a response from ANY of them. I know: I'll just show up Tuesday nite after the meetings @ Harwigs, maybe we can discuss this over a few beers!!!!! Good Luck. My guess is THEY have already decided this one too!!!

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

Dear bloggers, I would like to add a little more mud to the water. We have triple crown everything here! We have TC soccer, TC volleyball as well! It's not just the TC softball group that congests Steamboat. Back in the day (25 years ago), Steamboats economy thrived on ranching, mining and the ski hill. Summers were quiet with the retirement "snowbirds" from Arizona who lived here in the summer. Summers were real quiet. We had the vintage auto and motorcycle races and the balloon rodeo. The chamber, the city, the county, the merchants of Steamboat came up with the summer marketing plan to sell Steamboat as a destination resort. A lot of this started with triple crown softball and mushroomed into what we have now! I share the concern with the rest of you bloggers, that Steamboat is way too busy and when is enough, enough! There is a lot of good conversation going on here, that can be used in constructive ways. Looking at the aforementioned entities that we are dealing with, it will be quite the battle to get any reduction in summer tourist visitor days. It's like anything in America, find a good thing and market the heck out of it to make as much as you can. Then take the money and run! Who cares what's left in the ruins! They will find another place to settle in and sell out later! It's the American way! Steamboat is not immune! Good day!

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fartpark 6 years, 8 months ago

If TC is going to came back to town, then we just as well invite the Rainbow scumbags back too. Both groups are equally a pain in the rear. This town is going down the tubes.

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blackthroatedwind 6 years, 8 months ago

We just received the summer Steamboat Springs Kids Soccer schedule for this year. Heritage Park fields again 4 days per week! It takes close to 20 minutes to drive from downtown to Heritage park during rush hour, which is when soccer practice is. It like commuting in Denver. And we've got Howelson Fields or the Tennis Bubble fields right here in town where the kids could practice were it not for TC! I imagine that's about the commute for soccer moms in Denver. Wow, there's another benefit of small town living down the tubes thanks to TC. I'm lucky enough that while most of my income is made locally, absolutely none of my income comes from TC tourism, so I can selfishly say I could care less whether their contract gets renewed. Lets market what makes Steamboat unique, fly fishing, camping, hunting, hiking, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, mtn biking, shopping, hot springs soaking, dude ranching, etc, and get rid of the folks that could play baseball anywhere in any town in the Country! Unlike many other posters, I have never had a bad encounter with TC folks. They seem pretty friendly to me. Its the total domination of our downtown area by TCers that I don't like about TC. If we attract folks to the activities available in the entire County, rather than just the City, the congestion in town would diminish and I gotta think that tax and retail revenues would remain similar. Perhaps fewer t-shirts would be sold, but maybe if some of those t-shirt shops tried instead to sell something useful the owners could continue to realize a good profit from the clientele who come to appreciate the lifestyle that Steamboat used to provide!

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bocal 6 years, 8 months ago

Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the land.

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Bill Whittemore 6 years, 8 months ago

I moved to Steamboat 30 years ago not only because of some of my family already living here, but because of how beautiful and quiet Steamboat was. As time has gone on, I've really enjoyed little summer activities that have been going on here every summer. I remember the Balloon Rodeo, the car races during Labor Day weekend, and so many other activities, including when we first got Triple Crown. When first getting TC, Steamboat had so many different activities going on, all of this was so much fun, along with personnal activitys. Starting about two years ago, I've been wondering "Why won't this city council get rid of TC?" Triple Crown is planning to have more teams this year just like every other year.
Ten years ago city council did such a wonderful thing for Steamboat. They bought land next to te Botanic Park. The Botanic Park is an area that many locals and many tourists like to visit. It is right next to Emerald Park. Emerald Park always is a quiet park. If TC would be able to use this public park, that would be just like killing the Botanic Park. So many older people, mostly grandparents have been here during the summer, enjoying the warm, quiet town. Starting about two years ago, I don't see nearly as many of the summer elders as I used to see. The city council tells us that TC is the best thing for Steamboat's economy. Yes, that looks very good on paper, but looking at how most citizens feel about it, Triple Crown must be thrown away from Steamboat as soon as we can. As soon as TC leaves, many other summer activity companies will want to come here to Steamboat. That would bring Steamboat's summer back to being good, again.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 8 months ago

you all complian about traffic rudeness and other things..well its here now and its April and has been here for several years..guess what TC isn't here..maybe we are the problem..and with STBT 700 coming it ain't going to get any better..frankly I have had very little problem with TC..they have been respectful and friendly..so what if they bring thier own food I do the same thing when I go on vaca..lighten up..as far as traffic goes hang up and drive don't run red lights or stop signs stop passing on solid yellow lines tailgating pulling UEs in the middle of the street using the shoulder as a turning lane speeding and the list goes on..but i guess your excuse is TC made me do it..no I'm not prefect but I'M alot better than most

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colobob 6 years, 8 months ago

Steamboat is a big part of TC's allure. Without Steamboat as a venue for its participants they wouldn't have the following that they do. Emerald should be (p)reserved as originally agreed............., for the kids and people of Steamboat. So TC will pull out if they don't get this or they can't use that, you know what? Let them. First of all I'll bet they don't pull out and if they ever did I'll bet that they'd come running right back. Its about time they were told to shove their ultimatums where the sun don't shine. I for one believe TC needs the Boat more than the Boat needs TC. When did TC start governing Steamboat anyway?

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

The joke saying we have around work is; it must be "cripple town" (tripple crown) weekend because, there are so many tripple clowns in town! LOL! I know, bad joke. I think these things are said when it gets hard to do things around town!

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almostlocal 6 years, 8 months ago

All the fun activities that Steamboat use to have did not go away because of Triple Crown. They went away because the growing population pushed them out. 17 years ago when I moved here, Triple Crown was all adult softball teams and were loud, obnoxious and drunken. Due to the demands from Steamboat to change this atmosphere, Triple Crown adjusted the line up and started bringing in boys baseball and girls fastpitch teams - which meant Mom, Dad, sister and brother were travelling here as well as the player. The families turned these week-end tournaments into week long vacations. Then there was more complaining about over crowding, and Triple Crown made adjustments again. They moved the girls fast pitch tournaments to Park City - who was begging Triple Crown to go there, and built great ball parks to entice them. So now we have 3 weeks of tournaments, as well as 3 week-ends in June for Colorado teams. There are many towns who would love to have the business Triple Crown brings to Steamboat, and would be ecstatic to have crowded restaurants and ringing tills at stores as their biggest problem for 3 weeks in the summer. I believe we need Triple Crown's business and we would do well to show these visitors, as we should show every visitor in the winter or the summer, what a great town Steamboat is and what nice people live here. Who knows? The Triple Crown people may ski and come back for a winter vacation.

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STEMBOATwannabe 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree with ALMOST. Many people come here in the summer - but return for the winter.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 8 months ago

OK, Seeing that today is the last weekend of skiing, we have approximately 49 days of "mud season" to enjoy with no tourists! Aaaah! No TC to worry about, so enjoy! Memorial Day weekend will be here in a blink of an eye. We know what that means! Have a good one!

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