Winter flights ramp up at Yampa Valley Regional Airport

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— The forecast for the Yampa Valley is showing snow and an uptick in air service.

The majority of winter flights at Yampa Valley Regional Airport start this week, and on Wednesday, passengers on Alaska Airlines’ new nonstop from Seattle were the first of the season from outside of Colorado to touch down in Hayden.

With the National Weather Service forecasting chances of snow into the weekend, flights from Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles start to roll in Thursday with Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark and Atlanta routes starting Saturday.

On Thursday, incoming flights at Yampa Valley Regional Airport were 93 percent booked with 666 total passengers slated to arrive in Hayden.

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, which is based on a survey of properties, predicts that 54 percent of Steamboat’s lodging will be occupied Friday night. That number is projected to increase to 59 percent of properties being occupied by Christmas Day and 90 percent by Dec. 28.

The estimated actual occupancy of the same Friday in 2012 was 52 percent full. The actual occupancy figure is typically higher than the projected number because of last minute bookings.

Denver winter air service started the day before Thanksgiving with two flights daily, and two additional daily routes from Denver will start Thursday.

The most recent update to the winter air schedule for YVRA added a Sunday flight from Denver that will run from Feb. 16 to March 2.

This season is the start of the new nonstop flight from Seattle, and there also will be additional seats coming from Los Angeles, which was new last year, and Newark.

The winter air service program, which offers revenue guarantees to carriers, is funded by dedicated sales tax revenues, accommodations taxes and contributions from Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and other businesses. The program is administered by the Local Marketing District board and Ski Corp.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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