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Granite Peak ski and snowboard season starts this weekendSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Dan McKinney

Granite Peak ski and snowboard season starts this weekend
RIB MOUNTAIN - Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau started making snow two weeks ago. Starting saturday skiers and snowboarders can start using the hill.

It's 7 a.m. at the Granite Peak Ski Area and the day is just starting for Matt Howe.

"Love being out in the elements," says Matt Howe, snowmaker at Granite Peak.

He's a veteran snowmaker whose hand guides the snow cat like he's playing a videogame.

"You got to kind of shave it I guess is the way I like to do it," says Howe.

"We make piles, and then we push it around and that's how we make the corduroy," says Howe.

Rib Mountain has more than 70 runs.

Matt shapes and builds them throughout the season.

"We got a variety of terrain here so it kind of suits everybody," says Howe.

Before Matt shapes the snow, he has to make it.

"The cold weather it kind of gets the blood going, you know I mean work hard all summer trying to get everything ready and that's what we work for is this time of year," says Howe.

This time of year is busy for snowmakers at Granite Peak.

The season starts in 2 days.

"This is my favorite part of the job, this is what I live for all year round is to be in the cat and push snow and build runs," says Howe.

This ski and snowboard season Granite Peak is set to produce more than 40 inches of man-made snow but of course there always looking for a little help from Mother Nature.




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WISCONSIN - A 46-year-old Manitowoc man that was reported missing Thursday evening was found in northern Wisconsin on Saturday.

Manitowoc Police said David L. Mellstrom had not been seen in Manitowoc since Feb. 22 around 10 p.m. Police said they had information he was in the Eagle River area yesterday.

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MADISON (AP) - Northern Wisconsin businesses that are having trouble finding employees are hoping to lure retirees to work or keep people nearing retirement on the job longer.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that economic development experts say low unemployment rates, a lack of new workers and a growing number of people on the cusp of retirement have created a major demand for workers.

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WOODRUFF - People came together in Woodruff on Saturday to raise money for a good cause. This was the fifth year for the Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament.

In total about 175 people entered into the tournament. People could win prizes and could help themselves to some food throughout the day.

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MERRILL - Merrill went without a homeless shelter for the last two winters. 

Now, construction is finally about to begin on a new one. 

The building was donated to the Merrill Community Homeless Center board in October.

Board Secretary Dee Olsen says Merrill has had 30 adults and five families suffering from homelessness in the last five months.

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EAGLE RIVER - Blink and you might miss him.  Patrik Sandell tends to understate things, but flying around on a frozen lake, sometimes at 100 miles per hour, is simply "normal" for him.

"I've been flying out here," Sandell said.  "For me, this is how I grew up."

Sandell learned to drive race cars under similar conditions as a youngster in Sweden.  The 35-year-old joined Subaru Rally Team USA and wanted to bring his ice driving experience to the states.  The racing style means drifting a car at high speeds through a curvy ice track.

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WAUSAU - Police spent hours trying to get a man with a gun out of a Wausau home Friday morning. 

According to a press release, Wausau Police went to a home on the 100 block of Maple Street looking for Bennie Green, 35. Green was a suspect in a gun fire investigation from Wednesday night. Police think Green fired a gun near North Third Ave and Norton Street that night. No one was hurt in that situation.

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MINOCQUA - Every four years, winter sports gain popularity during the Olympics. For two weeks, athletes show the world what they can do. The skaters from the Lakeland Figure Skating Club aren't in the Olympics, but they've spent months perfecting their routines for a showcase this weekend. 

Ice skating has been a lifelong passion for Raven Carufel. 

"I originally saw the Disney movie Ice Princess and my parents got me a pair of skates for Christmas and it's been history since then," said 16-year-old Carufel. 

Now, she skates at the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena to improving her skills and move up levels. Advancing is a big part of the sport. But skating also serves as a stress reliever. 

"I feel so confident when I'm on the ice it's kind of a release for everything in life," said Carufel. 

Carufel and the other skaters are preparing for the Lakeland Figure Skating Club's Ice Show this weekend.
Skaters of all ages and skills levels show off their routines.

"This is the only show I do out of the year, otherwise its mostly training for competing," said 17-year-old Lainie Kuckkahn. 

Lakeland Ice Arena is home for Kuckkahn. She also travels all over the state and country to compete.
"Right now my goal is to pass all my free skates and also continue competing and hopefully get a few higher scores," said Kuckkahn. 

These skaters spend weeks, months, and even years practicing. But every four years, their sport comes into the spotlight in the Olympics. They get to watch some of their favorite skaters perform. 

"My favorite skater is Evgenia from Russia," said Carufel. 

"I've always really liked Mirai Nagasu, so I was really happy when she landed her triple axel this year in competition."

Watching their favorite athletes on TV gives young skaters some extra motivation to keep getting better.
"Just seeing that strength they have kind of inspires me to strengthen my own skating," said Carufel. 

"It makes me feel good because sometimes I want to be in the Olympics. I kind of imagine me and my group being in the Olympics having just fun," said eight-year-old Addison Nelson. 

The shows will be held on Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Lakeland Hawks Ice Arena in Minocqua. 

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