Much of Wisconsin has gotten only a little snow this season, but downhill ski resorts in the state are selling more season lift tickets than they did last year at this time.
Vicki Baumann is the general manger at Granite Peak Ski Resort at Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau. She says so far this season, lift ticket sales are up by around 12 percent. She says even though there hasn’t been heavy snowfall yet, it’s not really the snow but the cold that's important for business in Wisconsin, "Ski areas in the Midwest depend upon the cold temperatures. We need to make snow, so that’s a very important factor. We couldn’t open if we couldn’t make snow, so if we have the colder temperatures, we can make the snow."
Baumann says Wisconsin's ski resorts are aggressive with their snow making and many have updated their operations to use more energy efficient machines in recent years. Jim Engel is the President of the Wisconsin Ski Industries Association and the owner of Sunburst Ski Area in Kewaskum north of Milwaukee. He says ticket sales are up statewide. Engel says the earlier it gets colder, the more lift tickets get sold, "The pass sales have been very aggressive this year. I think it’s in part due to the earlier start in we’ve had in the ski industry compared to last year. Last year’s warm weather took us all the way through November and into early December before we could even start to make snow, so we’re way ahead weather wise. And obviously season’s pass sales are tied to weather.”
Engel says most ski resorts in the state expect to be fully open by Christmas.