Lincoln Avenue weekend occupancy forecast at 83 percent | SteamboatToday.com

Lincoln Avenue weekend occupancy forecast at 83 percent

Mike Lawrence

Pedestrians walk in front of the Lincoln Avenue storefronts Thursday afternoon. Base area lodging is forecast to be slightly lower this weekend compared to the same weekend last year, but last weekend’s snowfall boosted lodging numbers well over projections.





Pedestrians walk in front of the Lincoln Avenue storefronts Thursday afternoon. Base area lodging is forecast to be slightly lower this weekend compared to the same weekend last year, but last weekend's snowfall boosted lodging numbers well over projections.
Matt Stensland

— A local lodging forecast projects visitor numbers this weekend that are slightly lower than those of a year ago but nonetheless strong in downtown Steamboat Springs.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer predicts a total of 8,329 "pillows," or visitors, to the city this weekend, compared to the 10,196 guests who came to town on the weekend of Jan. 10 last year.

By percent, the projection is for a 48-percent total occupancy rate this weekend, compared to 59 percent last year.

Although that difference may appear large, forecast figures tend to be lower than actual totals, especially during ski season.

Last weekend, for example, saw a jump of about 1,500 guests above the forecast figure. Snowfall and last-minute skiers and snowboarders likely fueled that increase.

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This weekend's draw appears to be the 25th annual MusicFest at Steamboat, a concert series at the base of Steamboat Ski Area that could be spurring the 83 percent occupancy rate predicted for downtown.

"We're real strong. We're sold out both Friday and Saturday night," said Greg Koehler, owner of the Rabbit Ears Motel on Lincoln Avenue. "A lot of it is MusicFest people, and we just have some general skiing interest and that kind of thing going on Saturday."

Tracy Barnett, of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, agreed that young crowds could be driving the downtown visitor traffic this weekend.

"I can only think it has to do with the music concerts and young attendees, and it's still winter break for a lot of colleges," she said.

Lodging predictions drop for Wednesday of next week, showing a 46 percent occupancy rate compared to the 56 percent forecast of the corresponding Wednesday from a year ago.

But visitor numbers pick up steam the following weekend, leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18, with forecasts of 65 percent occupancy or higher at base area hotels, base area condominiums and downtown.

Those projections are right in line with the comparable weekend a year ago. Martin Luther King Jr. Day fell on Jan. 19 last year.

Koehler said he wasn't entirely expecting this weekend's lodging boost.

"I would have to say it certainly was a nice surprise," he said. "We tend to think that we should sell out on weekends with regular ski business, but that's certainly not a slam dunk or a given anymore."

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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