After busy holiday season, Steamboat Springs to see weekend lull in overnight visitors

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— After a busy post-holiday weekend that represented the end of vacation for many New Year’s travelers and the beginning of ski trips for thousands of MusicFest fans, this weekend will see a dramatic drop-off in overnight guests in Steamboat Springs.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s lodging barometer forecasts 6,700 visitors will stay overnight in local lodging properties Saturday. That number represents 45 percent occupancy. It’s also a significant decrease from the 11,400 overnight guests who stayed here on the corresponding Saturday in 2012, when lodging capacity was at 76 percent.

This weekend’s estimated lodging forecast also is half of what it was for Jan. 5, when 13,600 visitors spent the night in local hotels and condos. There was 91 percent occupancy last Saturday.

This Saturday is the centerpiece of Steamboat Ski Area’s 50th anniversary celebration, with events taking place throughout the day and culminating with a torchlight parade and fireworks display as soon as the sun goes down. Find more about the Saturday celebration in the Explore Steamboat section beginning on page 13. Saturday also is when the Denver Broncos host the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. The game starts at 2:30 p.m.

Following this weekend, visitation appears poised to equal or exceed 2012 levels throughout the next week. The early forecast for Wednesday, Jan. 16, predicts 42 percent occupancy, or 6,300 overnight guests, the same number from the corresponding Wednesday last year. The lodging barometer for Saturday, Jan. 19, expects 63 percent capacity, or 9,400 overnight guests. That would be an increase from the 8,400 guests expected on the same Saturday in 2012.

The Chamber’s lodging barometer is based on survey data from local lodging properties. Its primary function is to help businesses determine staffing levels during the winter and summer tourism seasons. Actual lodging occupancy levels tend to increase from the forecast levels as a result of last-minute bookings.

Survey data complied by the Chamber indicates that occupancy levels during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period were higher this season than any of the previous three ski seasons dating back to winter 2009-10. That uptick was in contrast to the first five weeks of the current ski season, when overnight occupancy was at or below levels from each of the previous three seasons.

To reach Brent Boyer, call 970-871-4221 or email bboyer@SteamboatToday.com

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