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With Mild Winter, Business Hurting At Area Ski Resorts

The lack of snow has put a bite in revenues at Villa Olivia in Bartlett, Ill. (CBS)

The lack of snow has put a bite in revenues at Villa Olivia in Bartlett, Ill. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – This winter’s unusually mild weather has been both a blessing and a curse, depending on what type of business you happen to run.

Ski resorts near Chicago are struggling to make enough snow to compensate for what Mother Nature has not provided this December.

Four lakes in Lisle was closed to the general public Thursday because of the weather.  The resort was only offering ski lessons to those already signed up.


LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports


Villa Olivia in Bartlett has four of its seven runs open.

“It’s highly unusual,” says Villa Olivia superintendent Peter Pope. “The worst part is for the young people in the area, this holiday break.”

They’ve been making plenty of the white stuff at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena since it opened for the season Dec. 9.

“We’re happy with our snow-making system, that we are where we’re at,” general manager Michael Murphy tells WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty. ”Our biggest challenge is not putting snow on the hill, it’s putting people on the snow.”

Murphy says business is down 30 percent so far this holiday, which is usually the busiest time of year for them.

Chestnut Mountain has 18 out of 20 ski runs currently open.

It’s a different story for businesses like Shoreline Sightseeing, a cruise ship operation. It’s operating long after it would normally be shut down for the season.

“We would hang up a plaque that says, ‘Gone fishing,’” Stace Wiselogel, operations manager for Shoreline Sightseeing, tells CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez.

Instead, the cruise was setting sail with a good 50 people aboard on Thursday.

“Actually, a lot of the guests are foreign tourists who don’t have expectations about what Chicago should be like at this time of year,” Wiselogel says. “Who knows? We may run every 12 months this year, which is very odd for Chicago.”

The boat tours will be setting sail Friday and Saturday, with fireworks cruises on New Year’s Eve.

The weather for the next couple of days calls for temperatures in the 40s.