Uber-fit dominate weekend in Steamboat
July 22, 2011
Steamboat Springs — When summer lasts what seems like only a month, endurance athletes have to get their kicks while they can, which could explain why more than 7,300 hardbodies are expected to bunk in Steamboat Springs on Saturday night.
Summer has settled back into the Yampa Valley, and Routt County will host a 9-mile trail run, a high-altitude open water triathlon and a 50-mile bike race all on the same weekend.
The Triple Crown Sports World Series girls youth softball tournament ratchets up the outdoor sports one more level.
Seasonal temperatures have returned just in time — the forecast is for mostly sunny skies and daily highs in the low 80s through Monday, according to the National Weather Service's forecast office in Grand Junction.
Still no tubing
However, it's still not time to partake in one of Steamboat's most relaxing outdoor activities. The Yampa River was flowing at 1,180 cubic feet per second at midday Thursday, well above the 700 cfs threshold for launching the commercial inner tube fleet. The Yampa historically flows at 200 cfs on July 22 and 23, but even Fish Creek, which flows into the river between the ski mountain and downtown, was flowing at 214 cfs Thursday.
As busy as the calendar looks, this week's tourism levels will feel like a break for full-time residents. The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association is reporting that Steamboat's vacation bed base was 83 percent full with 11,500 people in town July 16 during the Steamboat Mountain Youth Soccer tournament.
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Mountain hotels were already 78 percent booked for Saturday as of Wednesday.
Mike Lomas, vice president and general manager of The Steamboat Grand, told a gathering of business leaders this week that occupancy rates are not the biggest challenge of Steamboat's hotels and vacation condominium operators.
"Weekends are full. Sunday through Thursday is a bit of a challenge," Lomas said. "But (Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Airline Program Manager) Janet Fischer tells us the receipts for the local marketing district (which collects a 2 percent lodging tax to support air service) dropped 30 percent over the last two years.
"Our occupancies are doing quite well. Weekends are full. Sunday through Thursday is a bit of a challenge. The problem lies in the discounted rates. It's reflecting on the fact that (because of discounts) we are not collecting the gross dollars."
Let's get aerobic
Steamboat's weekend of the famously fit begins at 8 a.m. Saturday with the Spring Creek Memorial trail run that climbs through the tall ferns to Dry Lake parking lot on Buffalo Pass.
The next day, the hard-core hill climbers take off on their mountain bikes for two 25-mile loops on the singletrack of Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain for the inaugural Steamboat Stinger race. Another school of multisport endurance athletes will get wet Sunday in the Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon at Steamboat Lake State Park, about 30 miles northwest of Steamboat.
Before and in the midst of all the heavy breathing, the athletes can groove to a remarkable number of live bands this weekend — see the Explore Steamboat calendar.