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Baseball keeps town hopping

Tamera Manzanares

It’s another busy weekend for Steamboat lodges and businesses, which are benefiting from the first of three Triple Crown Baseball Championships scheduled through the first week of August.

About 64 teams with up to 20 players each are in town for the first round of games, which started Tuesday and end Sunday.

The teams and their families, as well as other summer vacationers, translate into about 10,000 expected visitors this weekend, according to the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s weekly lodging barometer. That’s about 1,000 fewer people than were here this time last year.

However, visitor numbers next week — helped by another tournament starting Tuesday — are expected to surpass last year by about 5 percent.

In general, Triple Crown activity, which attracts teams from as far away as California, Texas and Missouri, help keep businesses busy in between Steamboat events, chamber spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said.

“That’s the huge part of Triple Crown,” she said. “It fills the gaps between our huge festivals.”

Together, condominiums, hotels and motels are expected to be about 66 percent full tonight, according to barometer numbers.

Condos tend to be popular choices for Triple Crown teams, who like to stock up on groceries and save money by not eating out. As a result, hotels and motels get a lot of non-Triple Crown traffic, Polumbus said.

Triple Crown business at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott this week has been comprised of individuals and families as opposed to entire teams, general manager Don Teuton said.

Still, with other summer visitors, he expected the hotel to be full Friday and tonight.

“With how much we’ve been picking up a week with walk-ins, we expect to sell out,” he said.

The hotel, near the south entrance of Steamboat on U.S. Highway 40, has averaged eight to 10 walk-ins each night this week, Teuton said.

All but five rooms already are booked for next weekend, he said.

Ben Franko, assistant manager of the Best Western Ptarmigan Inn near the ski area, said hotels on the mountain probably won’t do as well this weekend. He expected the Ptarmigan Inn would be about 80 percent full tonight.

Not only do many Triple Crown teams opt for condos, but it’s harder for mountain hotels to attract visitors driving through Steamboat.

“We’ve never had a very good presence for the drive market, we’re usually one of the last properties to fill,” Franko said about summer business at the hotel.

Reservations from vacationers and those attending conferences make up a lot of the hotel’s summer business. It is almost sold out next Thursday through Saturday because of a large conference The Industrial Company is holding in Steamboat next weekend, Franko said.

Retailers have enjoyed a boost in business from baseball teams in town.

“It’s been extremely busy,” said Greg Nealy, owner and manager of Central Park Liquors. “It’s been really good.”

Triple Crown members have comprised a “huge” amount of the store’s sales, which in general, have been better in the summers than in the winters, Nealy said.

Sweatshirts and T-shirts also are hot commodities among ball players, who have filled Awesome Shirtworks’ downtown location throughout the week.

“This week has been one of our busiest,” assistant manager Lindsay Kole said.

— To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com


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