Steamboat Springs Early season snowfall is a fickle thing, but Steamboat has received a respectable 46 inches of the white gold in October and November. Could it be that Turkey Day travelers are becoming more sensitive to the snow message?
The lodging barometer produced by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on Wednesday foresees 2,800 visitors spending the night in local lodgings Saturday night, down 20 percent from the 3,500 forecasted for Thanksgiving weekend 2010.
This is the first week of the 20-week winter lodging barometer that the Chamber uses to help local businesses plan their staffing.
In a rare occurrence, actual tourism numbers were off 400 from the projected number last year. That was the case despite the fact that Steamboat skiers romped in 90 inches of powder last November on top of 21 inches that fell in October. November 2010 actually produced more snow than December, which chimed in with 73 inches.
Skiers and riders may recall that it was the consistent snow of February and March (84 and 79 inches) last winter that put Steamboat over the 400-inch plateau for the fourth time in six years. And recent history suggests that it doesn’t take a monumental November to get Steamboat to the magic 400 number. Steamboat saw just 23 inches of snowfall in November 2007 and made it all the way to a record 489 inches for the season.
This week’s tourism will be enough to get local lodging properties to 20 percent occupancy, and no segment of the market varies far from that number.
The Chamber’s look ahead already anticipates that 3,100 people will spend the night in town Dec. 3.
— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com