Steamboat's snow message driving late holiday reservations

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— Steamboat-bound skiers were streaming into Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden in advance of the holiday Monday and Tuesday, and there were reports that everything was smooth at YVRA, where inbound flights Monday were 91 percent full with 811 arriving passengers.

Despite blustery conditions in Steamboat at midmorning, Central Reservations indicated that conditions at the airport were good in its 1 p.m. report.

Tuesday’s flights had an aggregate load factor of 88 percent with 794 passengers. The flight reports did not list any significant delays or any cancellations.

The days leading up to the holiday aren’t typically the busiest of the season with many travelers choosing to remain home for Christmas Day. Passenger numbers can be expected to climb above 1,000 by Saturday when larger aircraft from some cities, and more flights from cities including Los Angeles, Newark, N.J., and Houston are scheduled to arrive.

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Tom Kern said Tuesday that in anecdotal conversation with lodging property managers, he is hearing that Christmas week will be “very significant.”

The 25 inches of snow that had fallen on Steamboat in the 72 hours leading up to Tuesday afternoon apparently was having an effect.

“I talked to one reservations manager who said he was receiving calls over the weekend from people who still wanted to book for Christmas, and they weren’t concerned about price points,” Kern said.

The Chamber’s lodging barometer, which forecasts weekend tourism, won’t be out Wednesday as usual, Kern said, and will be delayed until Thursday. However, the lodging barometer issued Dec. 18 provided a peek ahead at this Saturday and already was showing 15,000 people would spend the night here in guest lodging Saturday night.

That’s enough to more than double Steamboat’s estimated 2012 population of 12,030 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Another sign that there are a lot of visitors in town? One Steamboat resident posted a picture of a grocery store egg section at midafternoon Tuesday, and there wasn’t a single carton of eggs on the shelves.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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