GRAND CHUTE - Snowmobilers and dealers are taking advantage of the early season snow. They say these are the best early-season conditions in years.
Snowmobiles were a sight not seen much last year.
"There was not enough snow to open the trails so, you get a good lull like that and it brings the enthusiasm back," said Gary Timm, president of the Outagamie County Snowmobile Alliance.
Now snowmobilers are making up for lost time.
"Everybody is pretty enthusiastic about snowmobiling this year," said George Ronk of Black Creek. "There wasn't really much snowmobiling done last year."
That led to slumping sales and disappointed riders.
"Sleds were steadily slow, I guess you could say, and it's certainly nothing like that right now," said Jon Matz of Ecklund Motorsports in Grand Chute.
But this year, trails have been open in many areas since before Christmas. And with plenty of fresh snow and trails in such good conditions, snowmobile dealers say they're seeing a big boost in sales.
"Everything is all impulse, just bang, set it up, I need, this, this and this, if you have to special order it, whatever, just get me on the road," said Matz.
And riders taking advantage of the fresh snow are also helping other businesses.
"The gas stations really are supportive of it and other places that people visit with snowmobiles really appreciate it," said Timm.
Ronk and his friend are looking at buying a new snowmobile at Ecklund Motorsports in Grand Chute where they're currently selling eight to ten a day. Ronk says he's already been out once and plans to make up for the time missed last year.
"You've got to look at it as a long term investment. You hope that over a number of years you'll be able to utilize it."
And prospects for that happening in the new year are already looking pretty good.
Area volunteers are making a difference in the community this holiday season. At this time of the year, many people are looking for ways to help their neighbors. The Salvation Army is one of the many places where you can do just that.
For the second year in a row, St. Norbert College could house overflow of homeless people from the St. John the Evangelist shelter in Green Bay.
A memorial fund has been created for a Grand Chute firefighter killed in a weekend car crash.
Appleton police executed a search warrant Thursday in connection with a fatal nightclub shooting.
Capital Credit Union is offering to match donations made to Salvation Army red kettles in the Fox Valley on Friday.
With just two weeks until Christmas, the Postal Service says it's heading into its busiest times. But are folks still sending letters of holiday cheer?