By Tom Mackin
Printed in National Golf Foundation
Winter means the end of golf season in a large swath of the country. But courses in the regions that see snow and frigid temperatures don’t all go unoccupied during cold months. Instead, an estimated 225 of those incorporate a range of formal activities, from groomed trails for cross-country skiing to other forms of recreation like ice fishing, ice skating, and tubing.
It’s not as simple as it sounds though, and having help from experts, plus access to a large market of skiers, often means the difference between making money or simply being an asset to the local community.
“There are a lot of people who seem to realize they don’t know a whole lot (about winter sports), and there are certainly those who want to make a minimal investment and get a maximum return,” said Jonathan Wiesel, a consultant who advises facilities through his company, Nordic Group International, in Bozeman, Montana. “You can actually start off with a pretty nominal investment in terms of grooming equipment, or go whole hog with a $250,000 snowcat vehicle if you have the resources and weather patterns to generate enough snow.”