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Unusual warm winter leaves ski park to create their own snow

Posted at 10:45 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 23:45:38-05

DELAFIELD, Wisc. — The lack of snow in Southeast Wisconsin is not stopping die-hard skiers at Lapham Peak. They're making their own snow.

With miles of ski terrain covered in white blankets of snow, at first sight, keeping the ground white for a place like Lapham Peak located within the Kettle Moraine State Forest has been a challenge this winter.

According to Colton Kelly, the park manager at Lapham Peak, he says this winter has been very dry compared to other years.

Folks from far and near flock to the park to cross country ski the 17-mile track.

"Last year and this year our visitation has been through the roof," said Kelly.

With a warmer winter and very little natural snowfall, the park has had to turn to machines and countless volunteers to help create man-made snow.

"We've made about 20% more snow than the average year and probably about 30% more snow this year than we did last year," said Kelly.

The increase of man-made snow has come with a cost for the state park.

"To give you a perspective, in January the electricity costs alone were over $3,000, so it's an astronomical amount that it takes to make this happen out here," said Kelly.

The climbing costs this season have drawn more volunteers and donors to step in to help make the ski track a reality.

"Its really great to see everyone take ownership and step up to the plate in that way. These were all given by donation so each one of these machines cost over $20,000," said Kelly pointing to each snow-making machine.

The community donated seven snow-making machines through fundraisers and they have been crucial this winter covering over a mile of the track with man-made snow.

The track has become an essential part of the Lapham Peak high school ski club team and they credit the facility to their state championship titles.

"It's helped us tons and you see it in the results, even what we have now compared to our competitors have up north," said Ashley Grossklous, a member of the team.

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