WILMOT, WIS. — If you’re looking to enjoy some winter sports this season, a classic Wisconsin winter destination has opened for its 80th year and is featuring a number of recent upgrades and improvements.
“Wilmot Mountain underwent a $13 million renovation in the summer of 2016, including three new quad chair lifts; renovated base lodge; new dedicated children’s ski and snowboard school; two new beginner area conveyor lifts; new innovative Terrain Park; upgraded food and beverage menus; and the opening of Walt’s Tavern, a full-service sit-down restaurant featuring elevated tavern cuisine,” said Rachael Muhlenbeck, marketing and public relations manager for Wilmot Mountain.
Also this season is the Learn to Ride/Learn to Ski program for beginners at Wilmot Mountain’s Ski & Snowboard School; new lunch and dinner menus; trivia night; and weekly live local music. The renovations were completed by Wilmot Mountain’s new owner, Vail Resorts Co.
Wilmot Mountain is 45 miles north of Chicago and has been a premier winter destination since 1938. It has nearly 120 skiable acres, 23 trails, seven lifts, two surface conveyor lifts and progression terrain parks. The base area lodge has been modernized with more than double the seating capacity and Wi-Fi.
In 1952, owner Walter Stopa heard about machine-made snow being produced in New York. He flew to see the test installations in the Catskill Mountains and returned ready to make his own artificial winter wonderland.
He bought several snow sprinkler heads that were put on a WWII Willys MB Jeep and ran aluminum pipes and rubber hose — one supplying air and the other water. Expanded snowmaking capabilities have allowed for opening more terrain and opening earlier in the season, and as part of the renovation project, four miles of new snowmaking pipe and 56 new snowmaking guns were added.
“Great access from Chicagoland and Milwaukee makes it a quick day trip to Wilmot Mountain. There really is something for everyone and for every skill level,” Muhlenbeck said.
Lessons for kids start at age 3 up to teens with half- or full-day group lessons and also private lessons. A variety of consecutive-week programs, camps and clinics are also available for those wishing to progress and improve.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, there’s more winter fun to be had at Wilmot Mountain’s snow tubing hill, located a half-mile south of the ski and snowboard entrance. Featuring 22 lanes that extend for 1,000 feet, you can enjoy speeding down the hill and then coming back up via surface conveyor belts so no hill climbing is needed. Tubes are provided and pricing is set for two-hour intervals.
Always check ahead on conditions as warm-ups may necessitate closing while new snow is being made. Also visit the website for limited-time promotions, like the current special to pay for two visits and get a third free.
“Wilmot Mountain has fun and varied terrain for a Midwestern hill," Muhlenbeck said. "From a newly expanded beginner area to innovative terrain parks, great race programs and weekend races. Overall, it’s a fun atmosphere to enjoy skiing with friends and family."