The early season dip in temperatures no doubt produced a lot of grumbling around the region from folks sorry to see winter’s early arrival in Northeast Wisconsin. Not at Nordic Mountain.
That early cold snap was exactly what owner Rick Schmitz needed to get a jump on the new ski season. Heavy snows the past two years have been good to Nordic Mountain, and the frigid temperatures meant snow making operations could get the ski hill ready for another great run.
“We were able to make a lot of snow early because it was so cold. We opened Nov. 15, about two weeks earlier than normal,” says Schmitz, adding that the slopes now have about a two-foot base of snow on them. “The natural snow is a bonus and fills in the gaps.”
Located in Wild Rose, in north-central Waushara County, Nordic Mountain attracts about 40,000 visitors during the winter months for skiing, snowboarding and downhill tubing. As the sport has changed with the increased popularity of snowboarding and the introduction of new ski types, so have the demands for different types of runs on the ski hill.
“We are doing a lot more with terrain parks, so we are spending a lot more time building ramps and installing rails,” Schmitz says. New ski designs have made learning or returning to the sport easier, and lessons have also become a large part of the business.
Schmitz has branched out the past several years. He has developed several summer sport opportunities for Nordic Mountain such as mountain bike trails, and he and his brothers bought and reopened the Little Switzerland ski hill in the Milwaukee area.
Nordic Mountain, nordicmountain.com, is open daily as conditions permit and the season generally runs until mid-March.