Ski Area Thrives When It Snows

February  07, 2014

At least one business in the Quad Cities area is enjoying this winter. Snowstar Winter Sports Park has suffered through at least two winters of warm temperatures and rain. With ski runs, a tubing hill, and other features, it's located near Andalusia, and has a full-time staff of six, with more than 100 seasonal workers.

Mark McGough, head of Snowstar Office Operations, says the weather has been great, with fresh snow falling frequently on top of the base created by snow-making machines. "Attendance has been up except for the last couple of weeks. The cold temperatures and wind kind of tapers off the enthusiam. But it's much better than when it's like 50 degrees and rainy like it was two years ago. I'd say attendance was up about 25% until recently when it's been more like what we've been accustomed to seeing."

On Sunday, Snowstar will host its biggest event, King of the Hill, a slope style competition for both skiiers and snowboard riders. McGough says last year, the sports park bought an "air bag," a huge, blue and gray pillow, and placed it at the bottom of a jump ramp. "I'd say most of them are high school and college age. And since we've had the air bag, their tricks have gotten phenomenally better, a lot better. So this year could be our best competition ever. And with conditions the way they're supposed to be,  there should be pretty fast snow, which means more speed, which means more air."

He expects a few hundred people will come watch Sunday's King of the Hill competition, which starts at 2 p.m.