Strong snow message boosts number of Presidents Day weekend visitors in Steamboat Springs |

Strong snow message boosts number of Presidents Day weekend visitors in Steamboat Springs

Lifeguard Elise Kuczera watches over swimmers at the Old Town Hot Springs on Monday morning. The downtown Steamboat Springs pool was crowded all weekend as visitors flocked to Steamboat Springs for the President Day holiday.

— Lodging and business leaders here said this season's strong snow message appears to have just made one of Steamboat Springs' busiest winter weekends a little busier.

"I'm sure all the snow has helped immensely," Kristal Eckley, sales and marketing manager for the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, said Monday after she reported occupancy at the base area hotel averaged 94 percent during the Presidents Day weekend.

The occupancy was higher by a few points than it was on the same weekend last year — when the snow total was far behind where it is today, Eckley said.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer last week predicted 95 percent of the available lodging pillows in town would be full Saturday, with the lodging downtown expected to be 100 percent full. If the Saturday forecast held or exceeded expectations, it would mark a gain over the same weekend last year, when 91 percent of lodging in town was occupied.

"We were full as full could be with lots of happy folks," Steamboat Springs Lodging Association Chairman Larry Mashaw said Monday, noting visitors here were able to enjoy both powder and bluebird days on the mountain during the three-day holiday weekend.

"We're still seeing (the booking pace) growing stronger because of our snow advantage."

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Mashaw said the properties managed by Resort Group and Mountain Resorts were full Saturday night, and bookings for March are on track to represent a double-digit gain over last season.

"When people on the Front Range look around to see who has the most snow, it's easy to say we're the big winner," Mashaw said. "We had Front Range skiers booking fairly close in" to the Presidents Day weekend.

On Monday, Steamboat's mid-mountain snow depth of 63 inches was bested only by the ski areas at Silverton and Wolf Creek, according to the Colorado Ski Country's statewide snow report.

And by Friday, Steamboat Ski Area already had received more snow than it did the entire 2011-12 season.

Eckley said this season's stronger snow message has spurred her hotel to find new ways to market the skiing opportunities, including partnering with the ski area to post its webcams on the hotel's website along with promotional skiing videos.

"With the conditions we had last season, it wasn't as obvious for us to do that," Eckley said.

The increased holiday traffic in Steamboat wasn't limited to its hotels.

Old Town Hot Springs Executive Director Pat Carney reported the hot pools at the south end of Lincoln Avenue stayed very busy during the weekend.

"We were probably 5 percent busier than we were last Presidents Day weekend, and I would have to attribute it to the fact we have more snow," Carney said as she looked over the weekend's visitor numbers that showed about 600 tourists visited the hot springs Saturday alone. "It's been busier for us pretty much all winter."

She said she hopes the snow, and the visitors, keep coming through April.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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