RHINELANDER (WAOW) -
Many Northwoods businesses are welcoming this harsh winter, as tourists pour in. But the snow is actually a bust for one event in Rhinelander.
Lake Thompson in Oneida County is covered in ice and snow. The snow is a problem.
"The ice isn't exposed to the real cold conditions, it's insulated by the snow," said Kate Bauman, tourism and event coordinator for Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce. "Then when we dig down, instead of that real solid ice base, we're getting a lot of that slush and water actually coming up through the ice."
Concerned for safety, Rhinelander tourism leaders have canceled the Ho-Drags on Ice event. It was scheduled for February 22.
"Never in a million years, given the winter that we've had, would I have expected that we would have to cancel the event for this reason," said Bauman.
Snow might be to blame for canceling this one event but it's also the reason business is booming across the Northwoods.
Snowmobile rentals have been steady at Shoeder's RV, Marine, and Sports Center.
"It's been very impressive as far as the early snow, early ice. It's brought a lot of people up so it's been very good," said Kevin Michael Hake, sales rep at Shoeder's.
The city is preparing for more tourists this weekend for the 38th Annual Lions Club Fisheree on Boom Lake, where conditions are better.
"The ice is real solid. There's about 26 inches of ice out there and it's pretty solid," said Dick Garrow, co-chair of the event. "The ice fishermen will be here whether it's 40 below or 5 above."
Despite the one cancellation, this snow is helping tourism in the region.
"Enjoy the snow pack while we have it. This has been an extraordinary winter," said Bauman.
Bauman says they are already planning on having Ho-Drags on Ice in 2015, as long as weather permits.