‘A great alternative:’ Sunburst Ski Hill has a new goat-to for its landscaping needs

NOW: ‘A great alternative:’ Sunburst Ski Hill has a new goat-to for its landscaping needs

KEWASKUM, Wis. (CBS 58) — Since 1961, the Sunburst Ski Hill in Kewaskum has delighted families with its winter fun.

Besides its 11 ski hills and two terrain parks, the area also boasts the World’s Largest Tubing Hill — so safe to say, there’s an endless amount of entertainment for avid skiers to newbies.

But this spring, Sunburst has added yet another form of fun, but it might not be what you expect.

Meet Bilie Jean, Bruce Wayne, Cat, Burton, and Goat-zart — five young male Nubian goats who are the hill’s newest employees.

“They’re cute and cuddly, but they’re working goats,” said General Manager Jason Wood. “It’s crazy but it’s awesome.”

Wood told CBS 58’s Ellie Nakamoto-White his team had previously brought up the idea of hiring goats a few years ago, but it didn’t come to fruition until now.

“We made the decision in spring that it was time to give it a try and see what happens,” Wood said. “We really focus on trying to keep our operational costs down in order to keep our pricing down.”

The goats will take on what’s called “goatscaping” — weed-eating and weed-whacking duties, that typically take two employees all summer to complete.

“We can mow portions of it, but there’s so many areas that we can’t mow,” Wood said, noting the 77-acre area. “With the goats, we’re actually able to use them instead of having to burn gasoline and all of the weed-eaters and injuries and everything like that. It’s really trying to reduce our footprint in the area.”

According to Wood, an adult goat will weigh around 130 pounds and can eat five-and-a-half pounds of brush and grass a day, which is about a quarter of an acre.

So, with five fully-grown goats, that’s a little more than an acre daily — which is exciting for workers like Hannah Frick, who knows all too well how long it takes to complete the mowing duties.

“I think it’s a treat alternative!” Frick said laughingly. “It takes quite a bit of time to get everything mowed and weed-whacked around here.”

The 19-year-old has worked at Sunburst for nearly five years.

Now she has a new title: goat tender.

“They were like hey, you want to tend to some goats? And I was like, sure!” Frick said. “I was very excited.”

While she’s never owned goats before, Frick said they’re easier to take care of than expected.

Her duties typically include taking them out to their pen in the morning, checking in on them throughout the day, and taking them back to their home on the property at night.

“They at first are like, who are you?” Frick said. “Then once they get to know you, they’re like, oh, I love you!”

Goat-zart in particular has taken a fond liking to Frick, constantly running after her and asking to be picked up and held.

“I did not expect it to be like, oh, you’re my mom, I’m gonna follow you,” Frick said. “It’s crazy to see how far they’ve come with me.”

The goats are surrounded by an electric fence, which is made for small animals.

Employees said while all are welcome to look, to please not touch.

If everything goes well this season, Wood said they’re looking at bringing on more goats in the future.

“This is just a steppingstone,” Wood said. “We’d love to be able to get five or 10 more of them and then be able to reduce it even more. If we can make it so we don’t even have to mow and not have the equipment out there, that’d be great.”

Share this article: