Easter vacationers keep numbers high | SteamboatToday.com

Easter vacationers keep numbers high

— With visitors still lingering in Steamboat from Easter vacation, lodging numbers continue to be strong through today but are expected to drop after the weekend.

A portion of the close to 11,000 tourists in town last weekend have stayed in Steamboat and helped boost lodging numbers to six percentage points higher than what they were last year at this time.

Despite significant drops from last year’s numbers in mountain hotels and downtown lodging, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association forecast that today will see 52 percent occupancy, compared to 46 percent last year.

The increase is not a surprise to Chamber Executive Director Sandy Evans-Hall, who said the chamber had thought the end of March and beginning of April would bring in tourists after looking at school calendars nationwide this fall.

“This is exactly what we expected with the flights continuing to come in, with Easter being last weekend and the runover into this weekend,” Evans-Hall said. “Easter in March is a wonderful thing. Five weekends in March are wonderful.”

Close to 8,000 people are expected to be in town, which is 1,000 visitors more than last year’s first full weekend in April. But by Wednesday, the number is expected to drop to about 4,600 lodgers.

While mountain condos and hotels along U.S. 40 saw a significant increase in lodging from last year, mountain hotels’ Saturday occupancy dropped by 30 percentage points and downtown lodging by 19.

Amy Garris from the Hotel Bristol downtown said numbers have been strong all spring. For today, the hotel is at 60 percent occupancy, which is 33 percentage points higher than last year and the first time in the past month the hotel has not been at 100 percent.

Because of the amount of snow that fell in Steamboat and missed other places in the state, Garris said the year has seen more walk-in skiers coming from Summit County or Aspen than what is typical.

Garris, along with Evans-Hall, is expecting those high numbers to drop as the end of the season approaches.

The forecast for Wednesday has the town’s occupancy at 31 percent and next Saturday at 25 percent.

The only way Evans-Hall sees those numbers rising is if Steamboat gets hit with one last snowstorm before the mountain closes.

“Without snow, it means everyone is turning to golf, landscaping and other activities,” Evans-Hall said. “With a snowfall coming in the last minute, skiers will come.”

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