The Big Story Blog

Snow-based businesses suffer the mild winter blues

Posted at 11:15 AM on January 9, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Weather


We are not supposed to be having fun outdoors in shorts in January. The weird weather is playing havoc with businesses, particularly snowmobiling, that depend on snow and cold in the winter.

MPR News reporter Tom Robertson is working on a story about how some of those businesses are faring and dropped us an email with some of what he's learned so far. He writes:

According to the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, winter accounts for close to 25 percent of all tourism in the state. Snowmobiling accounts for a large chunk of that, generating nearly $130 million in revenue to communities each winter.

Snowmobile riding events across the state are being postponed or cancelled, according to the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association.

For many snowmobile dealers, sales and service of the machines has come to a near standstill. Some snowmobiling enthusiasts are taking their machines and their dollars to Michigan's UP, or out west to the Rocky Mountain region to find enough snow to ride.

Hotels and restaurants that rely heavily on snowmobiling and other winter recreation activity have to get more creative to attract business.

In the Brainerd Lakes area, businesses along the Paul Bunyan Trails are offering discounts and special lodging packages, and more bars and restaurants are offering live music to attract customers. That's according to the Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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