RIB MOUNTAIN, Wi. (WSAW) — Charles Skinner, the owner and president of Granite Peak ski area at Rib Mountain, sits down to explain exactly what the expansion could look like.
“We’ve made a lot of changes to the conceptual plan, reduced the footprint, especially in sensitive areas. We’ve added additional hiking trails, and moved our trails around to have as least impact as possible on the park,” Skinner explained during a one-on-one meeting with NewsChannel 7’s Heather Sahr.
Two years ago, was when the idea to expand Granite Peak was first announced to the public. A concept that was immediately met with some resistance from people in the area, currently to the tune of 3,700 signatures on a petition to ‘Preserve Rib Mountain.’
“We’ve been taking our time, we’ve had no set schedule for getting this accomplished, we just wanted to take as much time as was needed to come up with the best plan possible,” Skinner said.
Skinner hopes a series of public meetings, hosted both by Granite Peak and later in the process, by the Department of Natural Resources, will help both sides reach a happy medium.
“I think what people need to realize is that this park has a unique history, and from the very beginning from the 1920’s and the 30’s the park has been part ski area and part other users like hikers, and snow shoers and that kind of thing,” Skinner explained.
An expansion is necessary, he says, in order to stay competitive with other larger resorts.
“A couple decades ago there were 800 ski areas, now there’s 470, and there’s probably only going to be about 300 in a few more decades. We want to be one of the ones that survives, and in order to do that we need some additional terrain, to meet our core market of families. And that’s what this does,” Skinner said.
Benefits of the ski area benefit more than just the mountain itself, Skinner explained.
“The economic impact of the ski area we feel is about $25-$27 million per year. Hotels, restaurants, retail spending, plus the ski area spending. We think that will approximately double.”
A public meeting is scheduled for 6pm at the Sundance Chalet at Granite Peak on Wednesday, December 7th. The public is invited to attend.