Olympics boost business at Granite Peak, local stores - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Olympics boost business at Granite Peak, local stores

RIB MOUNTAIN (WAOW) - Thanks to the cold, skiing or snowboarding this winter may not have always been such an appealing prospect, but you'd be missing out if you didn't.
"We've had amazing snowfall with zero melt. We'll have so much snow this year all the way into April," said Chris Pingel, Granite Peak's director of snow sports education.

As a result, the slopes have been busy.

"You definitely see an increase in our ski school with people wanting to learn more freestyle and stuff like that," he added.

The effect is more dramatic because it's an Olympic year.

"I always like to think the Olympics brings in more kids and even adults who want to come in and try different things," said Pingel.

It's not just Granite Peak that gets an Olympics boost. Local stores benefit too.

"It doesn't necessarily hit us today with a lot of new customers running in the door, but we do know in the season to come there will be people who may want to give a new sport a try that they haven't done before," said Theresa Shepherd, co-owner of Shepherd and Schaller Sporting Goods.

Shepherd's store in downtown Wausau is seeing a wide range of people come in.

"It's families. It's church groups. It's guys coming up for bachelor parties looking to do something different. The snow's here to stay so instead of fighting it, they're finding things to do to enjoy it," Shepherd said.

 She also noted there's just something about the Games that brings out the athlete in people.

"We all need to stay fit 365 days a year. Skiing might look like you're just sliding downhill but there's more to it than that. Whether you have a snowboard or cross country skis or snowshoes, people want to stay active," she said.

All the activity has created a reputation that Shepherd and all of central Wisconsin can be proud of.

"Wausau is known now as a ski town throughout the Midwest," said Shepherd.

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