Snow in Steamboat Springs boosts lodging reservations, attitudes downtown
December 11, 2012
Steamboat Ski Area to open more terrain
Ski area officials announced Tuesday afternoon that the Four Points chairlift will open Wednesday and provide access to all or portions of the Rainbow, Sunset, Hurricane, Nelson’s Run and Twister trails.
Top-to-bottom skiing begins Thursday when the Storm Peak Express chairlift opens, providing access to Buddy’s Run, Storm Peak Face, Cyclone, Meadow Lane and Calf Roper.
Steamboat Springs — Andy Volk said the snow arrived just in time.
"It means we’re going back to work," the owner of Cowboy Excavating said Tuesday as he helped clear snow from the parking lots of condos in the base area. "And it looks like we’re going to be back out there” Wednesday.
He said the unseasonably warm weather and clear skies that dominated the forecast for much of the past three weeks had him and other snowplow operators in town a little anxious.
But with more than a foot of fresh snow now coating Mount Werner, some attitudes quickly have changed.
"It’s definitely a challenge keeping employees around and interested when they don’t work for the first three weeks of season," Volk said. "I think people are excited to see the snow, and they’re crossing their fingers we’ll see some more."
Snowplow drivers aren’t the only residents in town happy to finally see snow cover the ground in the second week of December.
The lift lines at Steamboat Ski Area lengthened as more terrain opened.
A few customers at Cruisers Sub Shop on Tuesday jovially proclaimed the snow "is finally here."
And Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said although downtown business owners haven’t reported any major boosts in business in the wake of the wintry weather that arrived in force Saturday, many now are more optimistic as the holidays approach.
"When it was so brown, nobody felt like shopping. Nobody was getting in the holiday spirit," Barnett said. "What I did notice in each of the stores this week was the attitude was better. There’s that hope this is going to make a difference because people are finally starting to get in the holiday mood."
She said shop owners likely won’t be able to gauge the effect of the recent snowfall until this weekend, when it could entice more people from the Front Range to travel to Steamboat to shop and ski.
And if hotel bookings are any indication, the snow could do just that.
"We’ve certainly seen an increase in bookings," Rabbit Ears Motel owner Greg Koehler said, adding that the booking outlook wasn’t as positive last week. "It’s probably people who were just waiting to see if it was ever going to snow."
The lack of natural snow last month cost Koehler and other lodging owners some bookings around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Now, they’re seeing more interest from vacationers.
Larry Mashaw, chairman of the Steamboat Springs Lodging Association, said the recent snow is having a positive impact on bookings.
"Within the last three days, we’ve seen a slight uptick in phone volume but a more noticeable uptick in online traffic and online bookings," he said. "We’ve also got a really good group of group arrivals coming this weekend, and we’re happy they’re going to be happy."
He said that long-term Steamboat residents like him "take the wait for snow in stride” each season.
"But even with that background, you get a little nervous when (the snow) isn’t here by December," he said.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com