EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Coming to the Vail Valley for the weekend? Your room better be reserved.
Thanks to the Burton U.S. Open Snowboard championships, Vail lodges are virtually booked solid. The same is true in Avon. Even downvalley hotels are busy this weekend.
Rich tenBraak runs the Hawthorn Suites in Eagle. He said that hotel is almost, but not quite, full for the weekend.
"We're not asking why people are here, but we have seen a spike (in business) for Friday and Saturday," tenBraak said.
That boost in business came as good news, since the hotel last year was booked solid thanks to the second, and final, Avon run of the SnowBall music festival. That festival filled up the valley, but drew numerous complaints from Avon residents and lodge managers there.
With SnowBall gone to Winter Park - it's set for March 8-10 - the Burton event has largely filled the rooms the festival did.
The Vail Valley Partnership tracks lodging reservations and runs www.vailonsale.com, a source for last-minute bookings. Partnership CEO Chris Romer said the numbers for 2012 and this year are just about the same.
"There's limited availability everywhere," Romer said.
For instance, the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa reported two rooms available - out of 230 - as of Thursday.
"I think that we're sold out due to a combination of factors - the Burton U.S. Open and free concerts in Vail and Saturday's Talons Challenge, which is always a popular Beaver Creek event, plus a little help from the steady snowfall that we've seen recently. It's going to be a busy weekend for the entire Vail Valley," Westin General Manager John Evans said.
The Holiday Inn in West Vail reported a sold-out house for the weekend, as did the Christie Lodge in Avon.
"We've had small groups from Burton, which has driven other business," Christie Lodge Director of Resort Sales and Marketing Tom Butz said.
Even Triumph Mountain Properties, which has several luxury homes in its rental pool, was just about booked up for the weekend.
At Avon's Comfort Inn, general manager Emily Ravn said that hotel's 146 rooms had been booked for about six weeks. That's good news for any lodging manager, but Ravn added that the Burton crowd seems considerably "tamer" than last year's SnowBall guests.
"Events like this really drive demand," Ravn said. "The rates aren't quite as high, but I don't have to pay for security, either."
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.