New Revenue Source For Those Beautiful Fairways.

Snowmaking at a golf course? When it is too cold to play golf, might as well ski. Credit: Nordic Group International

Cross country (XC) skiers hit a hole-in-one once their local golf course, which has been converted to an XC ski area, is covered in snow. Golf courses are ideal for XC skiing as they are often easier than other trail networks for skiers, and they provide easy access to people looking for a convenient winter excursion. And now, Nordic Group International (NGI) will pay $500 for a referral of a golf course that is interested in developing winter recreation such as tubing and cross country (XC) ski operations (and becomes a client of NGI). There are currently more than 170 golf courses in North America that have groomed XC ski trails.

Jonathan Wiesel of NGI wrote an article for Golf Course Management Magazine in 2009, and he is now putting his money where his mouth is.  That is, he is looking to help golf courses in snow regions develop winter operations. Why would a golf course facility want to add winter activities? The opportunity includes increased revenue, maintaining staff positions, providing community recreation, providing winter amenities for existing or prospective property owners, and so on.

A gold course in winter is a perfect setting for xc skiing, and perfect for seniors who prefer gentle slopes. Credit: Nordic Group International

Profitable winter operations could include XC skiing, tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, fat biking, sleigh rides, dog sledding, ice skating, food and beverage sales, lodging, and special events such as winter weddings and meetings. NGI has teamed up with the SE Group (an premier mountain/outdoor planning firm) to offer services such as feasibility studies, planning and design, snowmaking and lighting, tubing/snowplay layout, turf management strategies, construction oversight and marketing planning.

While such an operation makes sense in a region where it snows regularly during the winter, having a snowmaking operation would guarantee favorable snow conditions. Regular programming can extend the operating season at both ends to increase revenue from early and late season activity. Additionally, lighting the trails will attract skiers and tubers that are unable to visit during the daylight hours.

Such a winter operation would work well in an area that is a major population center, but it also allows resort destinations to take advantage of the winter season. The capital investment for an operation would involve variables such as site topography, extent of existing infrastructure and facilities and the size and orientation of the market. With as little as four-six inches of snow, a winter operation could be launched.

The golf course winter operation is not a pipe dream. Successful winter trail facilities have been in existence across the continent for many years in places such as Woodstock Resort, VT, Sun Valley, ID, Bretton Woods, NH, Weston, MA, Garland Resort, MI, Calgary, AB, Bozeman, MT, and in Breckenridge, Aspen and Steamboat in CO. For more info, contact the trails and land planning consultant at www.nordicgroupinternational.com.

One Comment

  1. Mary Ann Latter says:

    I cross country ski when real snow arrives at the Falmouth Country Club, Falmouth, MA, Cape Cod. I am an endurance athlete and love being outdoors on my skis, often I don’t have the time to drive off cape so I make it work, also go to Woods Hole Country Club and cross country! Love it during a full moon!

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