Lodging numbers up for holiday weekend in Steamboat

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— This holiday weekend will be one of the busiest of the 2011-12 ski season, according to lodging projections provided by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

The Chamber is forecasting overnight occupancy Saturday of 13,100 guests, about 1,000 more than were expected to spend Presidents Day weekend here last winter. Actual overnight occupancy on that Saturday last year was about 13,000, accounting for last-minute reservations and walk-ins.

Presidents Day weekend traditionally is one of the busiest weekends of the winter, and this year appears to be no exception. Only the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends rival the upcoming three-day weekend in terms of overnight guests, according to the Chamber’s weekly lodging barometer. The lodging barometer is an informal polling of room reservations at Steamboat lodging properties. It’s intended to help Steamboat businesses determine staffing needs during tourism season.

There will be no shortage of things for visitors to do this weekend. Steamboat Ski Area is holding its Mardi Gras-themed celebration. A Ski Mardi Gras Parade is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday from Ski Time Square to Gondola Square. There will be free face painting for parade participants, as well as masks and beads. Costumes are encouraged for skiers and riders this weekend. A free concert with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk is at 3 p.m. Saturday in Gondola Square, followed by a beer garden and crawfish boil featuring fire dancers and street performers.

The festivities continue at 11 a.m. Sunday with the Steamboat Park Challenge, a freestyle ski and snowboard competition in Gondola Square. At 3 p.m. Sunday, Leroy Justice performs a free concert in Gondola Square.

For a complete schedule of Ski Mardi Gras events, including what’s happening on Fat Tuesday, check out the Explore Steamboat arts and entertainment calendar or visit ExploreSteamboat.com.

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