Lodging forecast down for this weekend in Steamboat Springs

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— Recent trends suggest Front Range residents may be checking the fall color report for the balance of autumn before hopping into the car for a weekend getaway to Steamboat Springs.

The typical late September fall color display clearly is on hold. Today is the autumnal equinox, marking the official beginning of autumn, and the aspen leaves still are playing hide-and-seek with residents and visitors.

The lodging barometer issued Wednesday by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates that 4,400 overnight guests are expected in local hotels and condominiums Saturday, down from last year’s forecast of 6,500. However, last weekend’s follow-up survey by the Chamber shows September visitors are showing up at the last minute.

The barometer for Sept. 17 looked forward to 4,800 Saturday night guests and the actual number turned into 6,100, with 1,300 would-be leaf-peepers making their plans after Sept. 14.

This week’s barometer is the last of the summer season and shows that the 19th week is apt to see the lowest tourism for the final week of the summer in four years. However, summer 2011 also charted the busiest resort activity of the past four years in the fourth, 13th and 16th weeks.

The tourism outlook for this weekend reflects the popularity of U.S. Highway 40 hotels and motels, as it did last week. Those lodging properties are expected to be 70 percent full Saturday night. Mountain hotels will be about 33 percent full. The number for mountain condos is 21 percent, and downtown lodging properties will be about 51 percent full.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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