Steamboat Springs Presidents Day weekend is upon us, and with it comes a surge of visitors to Steamboat Springs, according to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s forecast lodging numbers.
In the weekly lodging barometer released Wednesday, the Chamber forecast that 87 percent of lodging beds in Steamboat would be full Saturday, equaling about 12,000 people.
That expected number is slightly less than the number of visitors on Presidents Day weekend last year. The holiday fell one week earlier, on Feb. 15, and Steamboat hosted 12,300 visitors, or 89 percent of lodging capacity.
“It looks like (visitors are) going to be here fairly heavy through midweek, and especially through the holiday weekend,” Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall said. “And hopefully they’ll stay through the whole week.”
According to the lodging barometer, the Chamber expects 87 percent of mountain condominium properties to be occupied, as well as 82 percent of mountain hotels and 88 percent of downtown lodging.
The surge tapers off during the week, according to the barometer, with 61 percent of lodging beds forecast to be full Wednesday.
However, that doesn’t mean the tourism season is close to slowing down. Presidents Day weekend kicks off a series of spring breaks and other school holidays.
“There are spring breaks that come up in March, so we anticipate the first three weeks of March to be extremely busy,” Evans Hall said.
According to the Mountain Travel Research Program, which collects data from 265 property management companies in 15 mountain destination communities across the West, resorts have seen encouraging visitor numbers this season.
Midwinter numbers, measured from August 2010 to January 2011, saw a 9.4 percent average occupancy increase from that period the previous season, according to a news release.
“It definitely looks encouraging,” Evans Hall said. Steamboat “might not be as high as 9 percent, but we’re definitely seeing an increase year over year.”
“We’ve had a couple of weeks with significant increases and other weekends where we hold steady, but we’ve had more weekends where we’re above last year than below.”
Adding to the excitement of a nearly full house during the holiday, weather forecasters are calling for a stormy weekend of unsettled weather and snowfall.
Without any major town events this week, visitors can focus one of Steamboat’s most important amenities: the snow.
“I think they’ll be just skiing, and it looks like we’re going to have some fresh powder for them,” Evans Hall said.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@SteamboatToday.com