Snow Business Means Big Business

Posted at: 12/10/2012 2:25 PM
Updated at: 12/10/2012 7:04 PM
By: Kaitlin Stevens

After enduring last year's snowless winter, skiers and snowmobilers may have despaired of ever seeing a decent snowfall again.

But fans of the wintry outdoors got their wish this weekend when a slow-moving storm dumped up to 16 inches of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest.

This weekend's snow storm also means a big pay day for some Minnesota businesses. The flakes start flying and the money follows.

At Tousley Motorsports in White Bear Lake they did triple the amount of regular business on Saturday, and decided to open unscheduled, spontaneously on Sunday.

At Explore Minnesota, they say all it takes is a little snow in the metro for tourists to start making inquiries and reservations at resorts up North.  Last year due to the brown, dry winter, occupancy levels were down about 2% at accommodations in the northern part of the state.

Winter travel makes up 24% of Minnesota's tourism business.

The Twin Cities saw only meager bursts of snow this season before the weekend storm, and the Twin Cities' heaviest snowfall last winter was 4.2 inches on Dec. 3.

But with the fresh blast, "I think people are pretty excited," he said.

At Lutsen Mountains 90 miles northeast of Duluth, Minn., marketing director Jim Vick said you could "hear the hoots and hollers" as skiers took to the slopes amid the falling snow. The ski resort got up to 8 inches Sunday.

Vick said Monday that "folks really felt cheated by last winter because they just didn't get the snow and they are dying for it."

The system dropped 10.6 inches of snow at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and up to 14 inches on parts of the Twin Cities on Sunday, Minneapolis' heaviest snow since 11.8 inches on Feb. 20, 2011.

A blizzard two years ago dumped 16.3 inches and caused the Metrodome roof to collapse. This time around, stadium officials resorted to blasting the heat in an effort to melt snow from the roof as quickly as possible; it stayed intact.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.