By Rick Barrett of the Journal Sentinel, March 10, 2016
Vail Resorts Inc. of Colorado says it will spend $13 million to renovate Wilmot Mountain, a ski hill in Kenosha County that Vail acquired in January.
Also Thursday, Vail said it would include Wilmot in its Vail Resorts season pass for the 2016-’17 ski season, offering skiers access to the company’s properties in Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Michigan.
“We think our guests from Chicago and Milwaukee will be thrilled with the investments we are making at Wilmot for the 2016-2017 ski season, which represents one of the biggest transformations ever undertaken for a Midwestern ski area,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
Vail said the Wilmot Mountain improvements will include three new four-person chairlifts that will replace existing lifts. Combined with a new high-speed rope tow in the terrain park and two new surface conveyor lifts in the beginner area, the new lifts will increase capacity by up to 45%, allowing skiers and snowboarders more time on the slopes.
Renovations at the lodge will include the addition of 400 seats and upgrading the food and beverage offering to accommodate more guests. In addition, the facility will be modernized to offer seating for families, groups and adults, including a new bar and wireless Internet access throughout the facility.
The resort’s Iron Kettle restaurant will be redesigned and will include a new lounge and bar where parents will be able to watch their children ski and snowboard.
A children’s ski and snowboard center will be created adjacent to the learning terrain at the base of the ski area, featuring an open space for kids and their own lunch and break room. The learning terrain will be re-graded to be more accessible for teaching beginners, and two new surface conveyor lifts will be added for easy access.
A new expanded terrain park will include a high-speed rope tow to enable skiers and snowboarders to spend more time in the park.
Significant improvements will be made to the snow-making equipment including the addition of new energy-efficient snow-making guns and pumps to increase the snow-making capacity and allow Wilmot to open more terrain earlier in the season and create the ability to re-cover terrain quickly during the season.
Also, there will be improvements to both the race arena and timing systems to better support local ski clubs and racing programs, and attract bigger races in the region.