X Games good for business in Carbondale, Glenwood Springs
GLENWOOD SPRINGS What do Aspens Winter X Games mean to you? Excitement? Crazy stunts? Crowded sidewalks? Beer? Fun?Ask a few of the tens of thousands who attended last weekends events, and their answers will undoubtedly vary. But pose the same question to staff at downvalley restaurants and lodgings, and theyll agree: The X Games mean business.Its a great boost for January, said Kate Collins, vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. You definitely observe the impact of a busier weekend in Glenwood.While foot traffic into the chamber was normal, its lodging reservation line was flooded with calls weeks beforehand. Though Collins said she loves the festival atmosphere the games-goers have about them, even more exciting is the difference their dollars make in a traditionally slow month. The 12th annual Winter X Games wrapped up on Sunday night. Aspen has the contract to host the Winter X until 2011.The rules of supply and demand were certainly at work this past weekend, Collins said, quoting nightly room rates that were as much as double those of two weeks ago. A two-bed place in one hotel that Collins wouldnt identify usually costs $99.50, but went for $200 during the games. At another establishment, a $117 room rose to $167. Overall, she estimated that weekend lodgings revenue booked through the chamber were up about 4.5 times what they were a couple of weekends ago.Its great to see our lodges benefit from this, she said.And if youre wondering why people would make the 80-mile round-trip from the glitz of Aspen, the answer is easy. That glamour doesnt come cheap. According to Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, the average Aspen room price over the weekend was $514, with low-price options going for around $240. Add to that the fact that many of those lodgings require three- or four-night minimum stays, and it was all enough to send quite a few people north for the nights.Oh, we sell out every X Games weekend, said Debbie Bethell, a front-desk clerk at the Days Inn in Carbondale. She explained that, like the other hotels in the area, they always have an onslaught of out-of-towners, some who call weeks in advance, others who show up last-minute. While many are just here to party, she said, there are always a few competitors and their families who stay as well.She described Sunday night, when one athletes mother showed up in the lobby and was beyond ecstatic at her kids winning. She was just screaming and yelling. She was excited, said Bethell, who declined to identify the athlete who won.For Bethell, its those kinds of happy vibes that make the games worth it. The hotel always kicks up security those two days, she said, and staff members are never quite sure whats going to happen. Its hectic, but that doesnt mean she doesnt enjoy it.Its a young energy, she said. I have kids with that energy, who grew up going to the X Games.That enthusiasm is also what Steve Beham, owner of The Bayou Cajun Bar & Grill in Glenwood Springs, banks on every year. He estimates that he quadrupled sales between 10 p.m. and midnight on Friday and Saturday.He joked that catering to the young, feisty visitors wasnt hard. Serving dinner until midnight helped, as well as boasting several big-screen TVs showing the X Games. His restaurants location right behind one of the downtown bus stops, where people could catch rides to the games, didnt hurt.We had a lot of baby-sitting this weekend, Beham said with a laugh, referring to his rowdier customers, who were few but loud. But other than that, (things were) jovial, very jovial. And while many businesses hemmed and hawed a bit about the added stress, the craziness the games brought with them, no one could deny the benefit of the extra cash or the good feelings that came along, too.Its a great energy, said Beham, echoing so many others.Contact Stina Sieg: email@example.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
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