Steve Lashinski said snowmobile sales and rentals are down 50 percent at his shop in Grand Marais, Minn. "It hurts," he said.
But in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Hungry Jack Lodge owner Forrest Parson is breathing easier after getting some good snow last week. He still hasn't rented any snowmobiles but recently booked 10 cabin reservations. "Keep the fingers crossed," he said. "If the weather comes, the business comes with it."
It's not unusual for some sections of the Upper Midwest to get more snow than others. The region is known for "snow belts," particularly in Michigan, which lies in the path of frigid air masses from Canada that barrel across the Great Lakes, suck up moisture and deposit it as snow on the other side. But even some places accustomed to plentiful "lake effect" snow are running short.
"We used to be in the middle of the lake effect. Now we're on the southern cusp," said Van Drie, 40. "When I was a kid we'd have a ton of snow, but it's getting more and more sporadic. We're just not getting the winter."
Mike McGuire, general manager of a family resort in Cadillac, is among those resigned to the growing scarcity. He now offers sledding, hot tubbing and other activities that require less snow — or none at all.
"Ideally, we'd have enough for snowmobiling, skiing and everything else," he said. "When you don't, you just have to be smarter."
Associated Press writers Amy Forliti in Minneapolis, Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this story.
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