Construction crews work in October on a section of man-made waterfalls featured as part of the promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials have said summer wedding and convention bookings are strong.

File photo

Construction crews work in October on a section of man-made waterfalls featured as part of the promenade at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials have said summer wedding and convention bookings are strong.

Summer convention, wedding bookings strong in Steamboat

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— Expect a built-in audience when Burgess Creek makes its debut flowing through Steamboat’s new pedestrian promenade early this summer.

Officials with Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. said this week that they are preparing for a busier-than-average summer at the base of the ski area.

Ski Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond said his management team is contemplating adding evening gondola operations on Thursdays to accommodate demand from the public because a high percentage of Friday night capacity in summer already has been booked.

Sheraton Director of Sales and Marketing Kristal Eckley said her property is anticipating more wedding parties this summer and increased revenue from conventions.

“We’re really excited that all of these people will see the new promenade,” Eckley said.

On the wedding front, Eckley anticipates the number of room nights driven by destination weddings to be up 22 percent.

She said that the room nights currently booked for conventions from June through September are on par with the same period in 2011 but that the nature of the groups is different from and more lucrative than last summer.

“The type of group business is much more corporate and association driven, so revenue should be up by almost 18 percent,” Eckley said.

Summer 2011 saw more recreation-oriented groups, she added.

This year, a group of about 250 legal professionals will be at the Sheraton for a continuing education convention. When they get a break from their sessions, they’ll have ready access to the promenade just to the east of the hotel, where the creek will flow above ground the first time in almost 50 years.

Historically, Burgess Creek, which is named after an early pioneer, has flowed under Ski Time Square Drive. It always has emerged briefly into the daylight just east of Torian Plum condominiums before flowing year-round under the ski area in a culvert.

This summer, after a five-year, nearly $10 million urban renewal project funded by tax incremental financing at the ski base, the creek will flow through a new streambed of massive sandstone slabs. It will feature stone bridges at water level, small waterfalls and stone seating areas. Resort officials will be able to manage flow levels for safe wading by diverting some of the spring runoff back into the old culvert.

The daylighting of the creek was the natural component of a larger project to create a snow-melted pedestrian path wrapping around the ski base from Après Ski Way and One Steamboat Place on the south to Torian Plum Plaza and Ski Time Square on the north.

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

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