Plenty of visitors in store for Steamboat Springs this holiday weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Plenty of visitors in store for Steamboat Springs this holiday weekend

Michael Schrantz

— If you thought it was crowded in Steamboat Springs last weekend, you could find this upcoming holiday weekend to be a … relief?

Yes, according to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's lodging barometer released Wednesday, there could be fewer people in town the Saturday after the Fourth of July than the weekend before.

Saturday's forecast is for 73 percent of total lodging in Steamboat to be filled, and on June 28, the barometer stated that 75 percent of lodging was full.

The weekend before the Fourth of July has outperformed the weekend after the holiday two out of the past three years, according to the lodging barometer.

Steamboat Springs still will be plenty full this holiday weekend, as actual occupancy typically outperforms forecasts, and even 73 percent full equates to about 11,500 visitors staying here Saturday night.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is projecting heavy traffic on Interstate 70 this weekend as people on the Front Range head out for the holiday. In 2013, a news release stated, westbound travel times peaked July 3 at 97 minutes on the I-70 mountain corridor. On the Fourth of July, that number surpassed 100 minutes during the noon hour.

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Similar travel times are expected for this upcoming holiday weekend, the release stated, and travelers should allow extra time or travel earlier in the day.

Eastbound travel on Sunday after the holiday is expected to be bad, as well.

The peak travel time Sunday is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the release stated, and Saturday also will see increased eastbound traffic.

"Motorists are encouraged to avoid peak travel times Saturday and Sunday and expect delays throughout both days," the release stated.

Interestingly, the best lodging occupancy figure for this week of the summer in the past few years came in 2012 when fireworks were banned and the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday. Actual occupancy for that Saturday was 77 percent, according to the lodging barometer.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz