snow produced at Ausblick Ski Area, W260-N6395 Mary Hill
Road in Sussex, earlier this year provided a base to
withstand the warmer temperatures we have experienced
— Winter is typically a time for outdoor enthusiasts to get out
of the house, bundle up and take part in some of the many fun
activities the area has to offer.
the mild temperatures and lack of snowfall this winter have
resulted in improvising for area businesses, parks and event
fair to say — at least in my memory — this is probably the
least excuse of a winter that I recall,” Retzer Nature Center
Supervisor and Lead Teaching Naturalist Larry Kascht said. “The
snow conditions before and during the holidays were very nice, but
the duration of the thaw and the non-snowy conditions seems to me
like the most we’ve experienced. In past winters, it’s on
again, off again. And we’re realizing that winter is probably
not going to be what it once was when I was a kid, but this one
seems more extreme than ones in recent memory.”
Kascht’s 28th year working at Retzer, and he said while the
winter season typically attracts plenty of visitors to the park to
take part in snowshoing, the early thaw and frozen ground have
resulted in the park transforming its plans to focus around
classes and nature hikes without the equipment.
look for 2 inches of new snow for snowshoes to work, and it’s
been weeks since we have had those kinds of conditions,” Kascht
said. “The snow melts and refreezes and then you have ice
the absence of snowshoing conditions, Kascht said attendance at
Retzer’s programs has been above average.
absence of a typical Wisconsin winter led to the Suburban Sno-Hawks
rescheduling their 47th annual Snowmobile Race, which was
initially slated for Sunday, to Feb. 26. The competitor’s course
will also shrink to ovals because of the conditions on the course.
is the first year it will be a different,” Sno-Hawks Secretary
Debbie Lesch said. “Due to the developments, we’re only able
to do oval tracks.”
said due to the surprising amount of rain and warm weather, the
course is filled with mud and ice instead of the snow needed to
run a longer and worthwhile course.
lackluster winter weather can be felt on the slopes, as well, as
Ausblick Ski Area General Manager Dennis Evinrude said. But he
said the conditions on the members-only ski hill, at W260-N6395
Mary Hill Road in Sussex, still outweigh those from the 2015-2016
winter because of planning.
better than last season but not as good as some others,”
Evinrude said about business. “The thing you want to understand
about skiers, especially in Wisconsin and the Midwest, is that if
you don’t make snow, you’re not in business. Everybody has a
serious financial commitment to snow making; that’s how we get
through these periods.”
said the business worked to produce massive amounts of snow
artificially, and it’s worked out for the best thus far.
snow) is relatively ineffective above 23 degrees,” Evinrude
said. “But we made a lot of snow below 23 degrees, so that gives
us a thick base that will survive warm periods and rain.”