Cascade Mountain ski area thriving during dry winter
PORTAGE, Wis. — It is an unlikely combination. With only one-tenth of an inch of snow recorded in the month of December, Cascade Mountain ski area is off to one of its best starts.
Thirty-two of the ski area’s 36 trails are open with a 2-foot base.
Virtually all of it can be credited to an aggressive snowmaking program.
“People don’t understand the power of snowmaking. We’ve got 34 trails open and pretty much all of it is because of the snowmaking we have here at Cascade Mountain,” said Randy Axelson, spokesperson for Cascade Mountain.
The ski area began making snow in mid-November and opened for Thanksgiving. Cerws continued to build upon that snow base leading up to holidays, a critical period for them from a business standpoint.
“The holiday period from Christmas until after New Year is huge. It can be as much as 20 percent of our total business. So this week we’re hoping for the best,” Axelson said.
The economic impact of a ski area like Cascade Mountain is felt well beyond ski areas’ property lines. It extends to neighboring communities and involves jobs.
“Cascade Mountain, during the winter time, we employ 350 people. It is huge for the community and the county up here,” Axelson said.
While the snowmaking program has created good ski conditions at Cascade Mountain, they are keeping a watchful eye on the weather forecast and hoping for some help from Mother Nature.
“I was looking at the WISC forecast and it said there is a real good chance of getting some accumulation this weekend. That would be huge, not only for Cascade but for every outdoor activity in Wisconsin,” Axelson said.