FOX47 NEWS - Staying South

Jeff Angileri
Jan 28, 2008, 11:20 PM

David Lapointe wanted to go sledding Monday, but warmer temperatures closed trails in Arlington Wisconsin.

It got a little warm for us so we're shopping instead, Lapointe says.

But he's not too upset about the sudden warm up. Compared to prior years, Lapointe says this season has been a snowmobilers dream.

It's great. The last few years, it has been terrible for riding so around here anyways unless you went up north, but we've had a lot of fun this year here, Lapointe says.

Gregg Johnson says the massive amounts of snow in South Central Wisconsin have been a blessing. Especially to his business.

So far, Johnson Sales, Inc. has sold around 100 new and used snowmobiles, compared to the 60 they sold this same time last year.

I believe the snowmobile business has gone up 40 percent from the year before, Johnson says.

Johnson says the winter storms have turned cities like Arlington into popular tourist spots.

Attracting snow mobilers who would normally head north.

Probably doubled in this part of the state just be because most people use to go to northern Wisconsin now people now people can drive a shorter distance and go on awesome trails, Johnson says.

And with more snowmobilers in the area, the more business he does.

We had 25 sleds parked outside the front here people buying belts, gloves neck warmers, helmet shields. The most people I've seen at the store in a long time, Johnson says.

The influx of snow mobilers has also created a boost to area businesses.

The hotels, the restaurants and the gas stations their business definitely increases.

Johnson says they have sold 15 snow mobile permits so far. That may seem like a small number, but the shop only sold four total last year.

And with about three months of the season left, Johnson is banking on even more business.

To give an idea how much more snow we have had this year.

The Madison area had more than 55 inches of snow.

That is 26 inches above average.

And look how it compares to Northern Wisconsin.

They've only had 34 inches in Wausau and 37 in Rhinelander.

That's just about average for them.

In Minneapolis, they've had only 20 inches of snow this season.

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