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Unusual weather produces “Tale of Two Businesses”

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The view from the parking lot looks good at Ski Snowstar on Monday. That's where a bumper sticker proclaims, "Got Snow." But out on the slopes, it's a different story.

"It completely removes the momentum you have," said Ed Meyer, Snowstar's general manager. "When it was cold, everybody was pumped and ready to get going. Now, it's warm, so you backpedal a bit."

This unusual surge of mild air is approaching all-time record high temperatures for December. Readings are running about 30 degrees above normal on Monday.

After just 14 hours of snow making last week, little bit left is disappearing quickly. That's setting back Snowstar's opening date by at least a week.

"We need the ground to freeze," Meyer continued. "And when it's warm like this, it also warms up the water a little bit."

From lack of snow to lots of sandtraps, this weird weather is confusing the seasons along with the sports.

"It's busy," said golfer Randy Burton. "The place is packed."

That's why warm weather is good for business at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island. Burton isn't sure when to put his clubs away.

"This is the third time I've taken them back out," he said. "It's been bad, good, bad, good. It's good again today."

Good enough for some golfers to get out the shorts. Great for business at Saukie. By late morning, hundreds of golfers were enjoying the weather. It was busy enough to keep nearly 50 carts in motion.

"It's a rare treat," said golfer Nick Swanson. "Just being out here in the outdoors and being able to play is a great thing."

Not so great yet at Ski Snowstar in Andalusia. The crew is keeping busy with other projects, but the lifts are looking pretty lonely.

Coming off a short season at Snowstar, Meyer hopes to open the week before Christmas, weather permitting.

"This is not the first time it's happened," Meyer said. "I'm sure it will happen again, but we'll deal with it."

Deal with a day in the Quad Cities that's all mixed up with the weather.

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