Chi-town skiers and riders (and Epic Passholders) are in for some exciting news. Vail Resorts announced this week that it has acquired Wilmot Mountain
in Wisconsin near the Illinois state line, growing its lineup of urban ski areas in the Midwest. New investments in the resort's infrastructure and inclusion on the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass will highlight the 2016/2017 ski season.
Located approximately 65 miles north of Chicago, Wilmot Mountain has long been a favorite of skiers and snowboarders since its founding in 1938. The ski area opened with a single rope tow and by the 1950s, was recognized as one of the most successful ski areas in the Midwest as the first in the region to develop and implement snowmaking with rubber hoses, aluminum pipes and sprinkler heads. Today, Wilmot Mountain offers 25 trails, four terrain parks, a ski and snowboard school, a ski racing program and a tubing hill with an impressive 23 lanes.
Today, Wilmot Mountain offers 25 trails, four terrain parks, a ski and snowboard school, a ski racing program and a tubing hill with an impressive 23 lanes.
Copyright: Wilmot Mountain
"We are thrilled to welcome Wilmot Mountain to the Vail Resorts family," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. "Wilmot is steeped in skiing tradition and enjoys tremendous brand recognition among Chicago and Milwaukee skiers and snowboarders, thanks to the passion and dedication of the Stopa family over the last 75 years."
As the third Midwest resort to be acquired by Vail Resorts, following Mt. Brighton
just outside Minneapolis and Afton Alps
in Southeast Michigan in 2012, Wilmot Mountain enhances one of the Company's top geographies with access to approximately 800,000 skiers and riders.
Tubing lanes at Wilmot Mountain.
Copyright: Wilmot Mountain
Vail Resorts has major plans for the future of Wilmot Mountain, including redesigned and updated terrain parks, best-in-class coaching and instruction for all levels of skiers and riders, expanded dining and entertainment options at the base area, dedicated racing programs and integrated technology and social media programs like EpicMix. In addition, the company will make investments in snowmaking, parking and access to provide a more consistent experience throughout the season.
"We plan to offer our Chicago and Milwaukee guests new season pass offerings that will provide the chance to experience the best skiing and snowboarding locally and in the West and will use our best-in-class technology to create more sophisticated channels of communication with everyone who skis at Wilmot," said Katz. "We also plan to bring the same state-of-the-art lifts, snowmaking, lodges, racing, terrain parks, coaching and technology to the guest experience at Wilmot Mountain, much like we have done at Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps, all while honoring the important legacy of the ski area."
The announcement of the acquisiton coincides with the appointment of Taylor Ogilvie as general manager of Wilmot Mountain. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Ogilvie grew up skiing at Wilmot Mountain. Since June 2013, Ogilvie has served as general manager of Mt. Brighton in Michigan, where he ran all of the ski operations as well as oversaw the Company's $10-million investment in enhancing the ski area. Ogilvie began his career at Vail Resorts as a ski instructor and worked his way up through the ranks at the Vail and Beaver Creek Ski & Ride Schools to manager of the Vail Mountain Children's Ski & Ride School in Lionshead.
Keep an eye out for 2016/2017 season pass sales for Wilmot Mountain, along with its inclusion on the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass beginning in March 2016, when Vail Resorts will also be sharing its capital improvement plans in more detail.