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'Snow is like dollars falling from heaven': Warmer weather impacts Northwoods businesses

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 08, 2024

(MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis.) - As warmer weather continues its impact on winter sports, Todd & Barb's Rapids Resort, a restaurant and bar in western Marinette County, has seen its revenue decline by more than half compared to last year.

  • In a good year, snowmobile trails are open for 2 ½ months, but so far this season the trails have opened for two weeks, said Todd Tobison, co-owner of Todd & Barb's Rapids Resort in western Marinette County
  • The absence of snowmobiling and the warmer weather's impact on other winter sports like ice fishing is taking its toll on the business
  • Watch the video to learn about a winter festival this weekend in the area that is still happening, and why it has endured for decades

During the winter, it can be easy for snowmobile riders in western Marinette County to find Todd & Barb's Rapids Resort.

The restaurant and bar in Silver Cliff is right off a trail.

But, for now, the trail is closed as warmer weather continues.

The absence of snowmobiling and the warmer weather's impact on other winter sports like ice fishing is taking its toll on the business.

"We're probably seeing close to [a] 60 percent decrease of revenue versus last year," said co-owner Todd Tobison.

The trails have been open for about two weeks so far this season, compared to 2 ½ months in a good year, Tobison said.

But about 20 minutes away, the warmer weather could actually be a draw for this weekend's High Falls Winterfest, said Leon Popp, who owns Popp's Resort along the High Falls Reservoir. Winterfest is a fundraiser for the Twin Bridge Ski Team; Popp is a board member for the team.

"The weather's going to be so nice and people haven't gotten a lot of things to do, I think it's going to bring out a great crowd for us," Popp said.

The festival will feature food, games, and raffles, and "every ten minutes, there's something given away" at the event, Popp said.

"People like to come, meet their old friends from years back," said Popp.  High Falls Winterfest is celebrating its 49th year; and Popp was at the event in its first year.  

At Popp's Resort, "business is down, snowmobiling has been off for the last couple of weeks..." Popp said, but he hopes for the return of colder weather.

"Snow is like dollars falling from heaven," Popp said.