LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Thanks to cooperative weather, slopes at Mt. La Crosse were open for winter by the end of November.   That's the earliest in a decade.

While cold helped get the skiing and snowboarding season off to a strong start, long stretches of bitter cold in January and February kept people away.  Mt. La Crosse actually had to close for a few days because it was too cold.

But Mt. La Crosse should be extra busy this weekend.  Not only is it hosting the 20th annual Wisconsin High School Alpine Ski and Snowboard Championships, warmer weather is also likely to attract other skiers. 

The General Manager at Mt. La Crosse, Darcy Breidel, says the slopes are in great shape, and ready for the expected crowds.  "When it's sunny and the weather is nice, and we have this great snow, it's just a perfect combination for a great day of skiing.  We're hoping to see some busier days ahead.  We're hoping it doesn't get too warm.  We really want to stay away from rain!  We'd rather take cold than rain any day!"

The milder weather isn't the only thing giving business a boost right now.  So are the Sochi Olympics.

"We get some more phone calls about lessons.  Kids see it on TV and want to give it a try.  We love the Olympics!" says Breidel.  "It just raises awareness about what kind of sports there are in the winter, and things to do in the Midwest in the winter when it's cold."