With snow in the forecast, snow businesses prepare for a boost

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- As the first measurable snowfall arrives in eastern Iowa, those in snow business are starting to see an uptick; the ski slopes at Sundown Mountain Resort will soon turn white, and repair shops are preparing to see an avalanche of customers.

For some of the businesses that rely on snow, any potential flakes serve as a public service announcement for their customers.

At Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque, there is already snow on the ground. Without it, snow business can mean slow business. On the mountain, making snow is not as easy as turning on the snow makers.

"We look for our opportunities to make snow when it gets cold enough and at this time of the year," said Mark Gordon, the General Manager of Sundown Mountain Resort. "It's like Iowa: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

Staff members on the mountain watch the forecasts vigilantly, anticipating making snow when it is cold enough, but most importantly ahead of time.

"We try to beat the natural stuff ourselves- we always want to be a step ahead of the game," said Chris MacDonald, the Mountain Manager at Sundown. "But we definitely appreciate the natural product."

Between making snow and the potential for snow Thursday night, the news brought business in itself.

"[People] want to know when the snow making's going to happen, when we start sending posts that we're making snow it gets a lot of uptick," Gordon said. "I've got a lot of people that have been coming to pick up their passes- they're asking me when are we going to be open?"

For those that are wondering how much snow it takes to open the slopes, MacDonald simply said: "Well, the more the better."

Gordon said the weather will determine the definite opening date, but they have a target timeline in mind.

"We always try real hard to be open right after Thanksgiving," Gordon said. "We get through that first holiday, people are transitioning into what's the next holiday- Christmas. And what does that mean? Snow. And we think skiing and snowboarding. So it'd be great if we can be open right about the Thanksgiving time."

The ski mountain is not the only place looking forward to the snow.

Businesses like KickGrass, Inc. in Dubuque are expecting to revive those garage-stored snowblowers.

"About this time, give it a week or two, we'll have a rush where they'll be 20-30 people wanting their snowblowers fixed," said Corey Koppes, the owner of KickGrass. He said in that short time frame, they will soon see a lot more traffic.

"It's not unusual for us to have 50-plus snowblowers sitting here," Koppes said. "All the plow companies love snow. My customers and clients, they hate it. But when it's supposed to snow, we're ready for it."