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      Business booms because of snowmobilers

      The Copper Country is famously known for being one of the snowiest places in the nation.

      Snowmobilers from around the country travel to the Keweenaw and provide good business for many restaurants and hotels, but a warm start to the season had some places concerned.

      â??Our business is open seven days a week here, and we virtually would not exist without the snowmobile recreation," said owner of The Mariner North, Don Kauppi. "Our business in the winter in Copper Harbor is 100 percent snow-oriented.â??

      Kauppi said at the beginning of the year, his wait staff plummeted from 24 people staffed to six people staffed per day. He said although times came when he wanted to close for a day or two, he pushed through until the snow finally came.

      â??The thing is to not close, because once you start closing at certain times, then you get a reputation for not being open or being inconsistent, and thatâ??s almost a death wish for you," Kauppi explained. "You have to endure it somehow.â??

      Because many businesses in Copper Harbor depend on snowmobilers, early in the season they were preparing for the worst. Now that the snow has brought in all these snowmobilers, things are starting to look up. Kauppi said some businesses are even hoping to make the area a winter attraction spot in coming years.

      â??Weâ??re trying to move our community forward to be a winter destination resort," Kauppi said. "We have other things that weâ??re looking into to make that happen. We think there are a number of things we can put together here to make us ultimately a rounded-out winter recreation resort.â??

      The variety of winter activities in the area already, like snowmobiling and skiing at Mt. Bohemia, attract people from all over the country. Jeff Reimers and his friends travel up to Copper Harbor from Illinois every year.

      â??When we were looking at the websites, this area of the country had a lot of snow, so we made reservations and came up,â?? said Reimers.

      Even when summer comes around, the area will continue to be a popular vacation spot.