Our View: Just in time, help from above
December 16, 2012
It seems so obvious in a ski town like Steamboat Springs, but the point was underscored with a blanket of white this week: Snow matters, and not just for the purpose of opening ski trails and lifts but for injecting much-needed confidence into the community.
Anyone who was downtown during last weekend's Merry Mainstreet celebration could sense the collective sigh of relief as the snowflakes descended upon Steamboat. That storm, and one that followed Monday and Tuesday, and again Friday and Saturday, quickly helped to erase the dreary brown landscape and replace it with one we're much more accustomed to by mid-December.
More important is the impact of the onset of winter. Snow-savvy ski vacationers started picking up the phone and calling local lodging properties. Even if seasoned locals knew the snow would arrive eventually, that's not the mindset of out-of-town guests who hesitate to book their several-thousand-dollar vacations until they're confident that money wouldn't better be spent heading to a beach somewhere.
Early season snow is arguably even more important this year given the abysmal ski conditions that existed during the holidays last year. Turning that snow message around might not result in a short-term impact on vacation bookings, but it will make a difference in the long-term.
Beyond the visitor impact, snowfall means jobs and paychecks for many businesses and workers who depend on Mother Nature's white bounty to get them through each winter. There's not a lot to do for snowplow contractors when winter hasn't arrived.
Snow certainly isn't the end all, be all for Steamboat's winter economy, but it makes us feel better. And feeling good has a significant community-wide impact here. When you feel good, you spend more money. With another round of storms headed to the Yampa Valley this week, we all should be feeling pretty good as the important holiday season arrives.