Great Snow Conditions Bring People Outdoors And Into Businesses

There's a lot of snow outside and while it's not the best for those of us who don't like to shovel or snow blow, it's perfect for all of the winter sports enthusiasts.

All of this snow is certainly good news for Granite Peak in Rib Mountain where people from all over the country are have come to enjoy what winter, and North Central Wisconsin, have to offer.

Mackenzie Rodrigquez, Khushpu Patel - Chicago
"Our club leader loves this one. So she told us that this one would be pretty awesome for us," said Mackenzie Rodrigquez.

Rodrigquez and her high school Adventure Challenge Experience Club drove all the way from Chicago just to hit these slopes. The skiing and snowboarding conditions this year have been so good, people are jumping at the opportunity to shred down the mountain.

"On the colder days it does stop people," said Granite Peak Snow Sports Education Director, Chris Pingel. "But at the same time, when it warms up, that many more people seem to come out, enjoy the snow and get out of their houses."

Skiers aren't the only ones benefiting from all the snow, snowmobile riders are too, meaning more sleds on the trails.

"It's probably three or four times the number (of riders) you would have seen just a year ago because of the early opening of the trails," said Trailmates Snowmobile Club Board Member, Allen Zart.

Conditions are also bringing out cross-country skiers and snow-shoe hikers too. Zart said now is the time to get outside and enjoy all of the winter activities North Central Wisconsin has to offer.

"It can rain and our season can end in a week," he said. "We've had that. And that's why everybody kind of gets excited. Go now because you don't know, it might not last another week."

Local businesses are also benefiting from the snowy weather. Seth Alwin, Manager of Shepard and Schaller Sporting Goods said everything from skis and snowboards, to winter apparel have been flying off the shelves.

Nine Mile Recreation Area managers said this year has been the best for cross country ski and snow shoe rental sales in the past twenty years.

"People are starting to realize that Wausau has a ton to offer in terms of winter sports and kind of a getaway location," said Alwin. "We're having people that are saying it's too far to go out west. Money doesn't allow it, but they can drive up here five-six hours and find snow shoeing, cross country skiing, down hill skiing and a lot of good restaurants and things in the area."

Restaurants like Trails End, which happens to be at the end of a snowmobile trail, said the early trail openings have brought in a lot of snowmobile riders, giving a nice boost to sales.

"It has been great. We've seen an increase over last year, especially when the river froze early this year, they could come through the river and down Little Rib," said Trails End Manager Daphne Brummond.

Snowmobile shops like Pro Motor Sports have also benefited from more people taking out their sleds.
Allen Zart - Co-Owner Pro Motor Sports
"We sell parts and accessories here and it's something that when they're not riding, they don't wear anything out. So it's been wonderful for us," said Co-Owner of Pro Motor Sports Allen Zart. "I would say our business has doubled from last year."

Alwin said many people are looking to try new sports. He recommended people rent in order to find out what sports they like best, plus it's a more affordable option if you can't go very often.

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