Pigeon Creek Park, West Olive. (Feb. 8, 2013)
WEST OLIVE, Mich. (WZZM) - The heavy snowfall this week is helping Ottawa County get its money's worth on a major investment. The county spent $150,000 to renovate Pigeon Creek Park, but it wasn't able to open until recently because of a lack of snow.
"We cannot produce our own snow, so we're completely dependent on nature," says Leif Vanhorssen, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Supervisor.
Vanhorssen says the snow is better later than never.
"We didn't get our first significant snow until the last of January, so we were unable to open until then. But then when we did open, this was a very busy place," says Vanhorssen.
Vanhorssen says it's quite a change from last season.
"It was probably the slowest year of the 18 years we have been open," says Vanhorssen.
This year, the county spent $150,000 on improving the lodge.
"Increased the size of the building, so we can rent out more skis-- we doubled the number of skis," says Vanhorssen.
The people who groom the trails at Pigeon Creek Park were trained by groomers from the 2002 Olympics. Some skiers were worried there wouldn't be enough snow this year.
"My kids were extremely disappointed that we didn't have snow for skiing yet this year and they were very happy when we finally got snow. We came the first day we had snow," says skier Julie Olson.
Vanhorssen says the renovations were meant to be a long-term investment for many winters to come.