Steamboat expects 11,300 visitors |

Steamboat expects 11,300 visitors

Weather delays, cancels flights at YVRA in Hayden

— The resort community is gearing up for a second big ski weekend in a row as the National Brotherhood of Skiers comes to town with members from NBS ski clubs from all across the country for their biennial summit.

Late bookings drove Presi­­dents Day visitation to 13,000 from a projected 12,000 on Feb. 19. This weekend’s tourism is expected to have legs that carry tourism business into midweek.

“Saturday through next Fri­­­day we’re basically in a sell-out,” Sheraton Steamboat Resort General Manager John Curnow said Friday. “But it’s a little bit of everything with some good meetings business and a mix of leisure travelers, not just the NBS.”

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Asso­­­­ciation is projecting that 11,300 visitors will spend tonight in Steamboat lodges, condos and hotels. That’s up from the 10,500 vacationers who actually spent the night of Feb. 27, 2010, in town.

Mountain condominiums are expected to be 84 percent full this weekend, downtown lodges and motels are 48 percent full and highway motels are 86 percent full.

Curnow said his business has prospered on small conventions and group business this season.

“We’ve had a really up winter, but we couldn’t have done it without strong conference business,” he said.

The challenge for some vacationers Friday was getting to the Yampa Valley, and alternately getting away from the valley. Some flights were arriving at Yampa Valley Regional Airport close to schedule, some were arriving late and a small number were canceled.

Inbound flights at the airport Friday were 86 percent full with 890 passengers. Outbound flights were slightly busier, with 87 percent load factor and 916 passengers.

As of 3:30 p.m., the Con­­tinental Airlines flight due in from Houston at 1:32 p.m. was expected at 4:08 p.m., with return passengers on hold at the airport.

The only Frontier Airlines flight of the day was canceled because of weather in Hayden, and one of two afternoon round-trip flights to Denver was canceled, with the other delayed.

The seasonal tourism graphs from the past three years suggest the Steamboat ski season is only two weeks from reaching its final peak before gradually waning into April.

Other than a strong Texas spring break March 12 to 19, Curnow said late ski season is “kind of hit and miss.”

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or e-mail

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