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Rough snowmobile trails affect local businesses

Although trails in the southwest part of Marathon County opened on Thursday, snowmobilers say just a few days of use has made them worse.
"There was snow on them, not in the open fields as much as in the woods, and now they’re gradually dwindling," said Rib Riders President Randy Butalla.
Butalla is President of the Rib Riders Snowmobiling Club in Marathon City. The club is in charge of grooming trails in the area.
"We’ve done all we can do with the current snow, we’ve made the trails as good as we can make them with what we have," said Butalla.
But Butalla said it’s going to take more than grooming to get the trails in better shape.
"We need four to six inches of wet, heavy snow. We’ll have a beautiful trail," said Butalla.
Area business owners agree. More snow on the trails, means more business inside this restaurant.
"On the trail now, people are coming right past here and normally they wouldn’t even notice that we are here," said Kurt and Jo’s Eatery Owner, Kurt Handrick.
Joe Buchberger runs The Arrow Tap Bar in Marathon City. He’s also an avid snowmobiler.
"I hope we get some good snow and the warm weather doesn’t take the trails down to nothing and close them again," said Buchberger.
The bar has been open since the 1960’s and Buchberger said every rider makes a difference for his business.
"People stop in for food and maybe a drink or two, or soda to just kind of get off the trail for a little while and take a break," said Buchberger.
For now, snowmobilers we talked to say they’ll continue to hit the trails that still have some snow, hoping more falls in the next few weeks

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