Wilmot Mountain

Wilmot Mountain is a ski area in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. It is located in the Census-designated place of Wilmot and lies in both the Town of Randall and the Town of Salem, just north of the Illinois border. Located in the southern region of Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine, Wilmot Mountain is the result of glaciation. The self-proclaimed "Matterhorn of the Midwest" was founded by Walter Stopa in 1938 after a thorough research of the area’s topography. It has a vertical drop of about 200 feet (60 m).[1] It is also one of the few hills where the mountain is wide open, with few trees or barriers to crossing the hill. A skier can transverse several runs while skiing downhill. Night skiing is available on the entire hill.

Wilmot Mountain
Wilmot Mountain Logo.svg
LocationWilmot, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, U.S.
Nearest major cityWilmot, Wisconsin
Vertical190 ft (58 m)
Top elevation960 ft (293 m)[1]
Base elevation770 ft (235 m)
Skiable area120 acres (0.49 km2)
Runs23
Longest run2,500 ft (760 m)
Lift system11 chairlifts
Lift capacity12,500 skiers/hr
Terrain parks2
Snowfall48 in (120 cm)
SnowmakingYes
Night skiingYes
Websitewilmotmountain.com
Base of Hill, Evening
Upper Cat, Evening
Upper Cat, day
Wilmot Flyover
Lift #1, over State Line run
By Lift #8, in front of lodge
Base of Competition run
Middle of hill - Superior

Wilmot Mountain is located 40 miles south-southwest of Milwaukee and 55 miles (90 km) north of Chicago. The Stopa Family were the owners and operators from February 1938 to January 2016. Vail Resorts purchased the resort in early 2016. Vail Resorts completed about $13 million in renovations in 2016. Most days small aircraft from the nearby Westosha airport can be seen high above, circling the hill.

Winter Sports - Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snow TubingEdit

RecreationalEdit

Wilmot Mountain caters to skiers, snowboarders, and snow tubers. The new snow tubing facility opened in 2012 with twenty tubing lanes over 1,000 feet (300 m) in length, and a state-of-the-art covered conveyor lift. A brand new lodge houses the ticket sales, food and beverage options, rental items, conference rooms, and banquet facilities.

Wilmot Mountain's Snow Tubing Area was built at a separate area so it does not take away from the existing skiing and snowboarding runs.

The longest ski & snowboard run, State Line, parallels the Illinois / Wisconsin border - a small section near the top is in Illinois. The terrain park at Wilmot Mountain has a full combination of beginner to advanced boxes, rails and jibbing features.

Wilmot Mountain has a full service ski and snowboard school with over 300 certified instructors, a well tenured and certified snowboard instructor staff, and a comprehensive children's program.

It also has an award winning[2] National Ski Patrol group.

Alpine racingEdit

Wilmot has an active race program and is the destination of many race clubs and groups. Weekly race training is run in the evenings by their on-site race program. The Chicago Metropolitan Ski Council (CMSC) holds Slalom or Giant Slalom races eight days each season using two newly contoured runs designed with racing in mind.[3] NASTAR races were held weekly until 2004. In 2017, NASTAR racing returned to Wilmot Mountain.

SnowmakingEdit

Wilmot started making their own snow in 1952 using Joe Tropiano[4] snow machines, basically a lawn watering device with heaters to prevent freezing. Today they use a combination of older and new, high-tech snow making equipment. Wilmot makes snow whenever the temperature drops low enough, even during hours of operation.

HistoryEdit

  • In 1938, Walter Stopa bought property from a local farmer and founded Wilmot Hills. He started off with a rope tow, which was powered by the drive mechanism from a Model A Ford.
  • In 1968, Walter added the first Wilmot chairlift. Walter died on June 10, 1986, and his daughter Diane Reese and son-in-law Micheal Reese took over as owner and general manager.
  • In 1989, Diane, and Micheal added the Iron Kettle dining facility.
  • In 2001, Dennis Sheen, Diane's son in-law, took charge as general manager.
  • In 2011, Snow Tubing was added to Wilmot Mountain.
  • In January 2016, Diane Reese sold Wilmot Mountain to Vail Resorts.
  • In March 2016, Taylor Ogilive became the general manager for Wilmot Mountain.
  • In summer of 2016, Vail Resorts invested more than $13 million in renovations.

Auto racingEdit

The roads surrounding the parking lot and resort have a very unusual shape, including a hairpin curve. The design resembles a race track oval, and with good reason - there used to be a race course on the grounds. From 1954 to 1967, the ski resort was home to Wilmot Hills Race Course. In the summer months the ski lodge served food and drinks to race fans. Aerial photos of the area clearly show the race track, although part of the course is now covered by building additions.

FacilitiesEdit

The resort has several cafeterias, 2 pubs, pizza restaurant, ski shop, rentals and lockers. Nearby Wilmot and Antioch offer the typical selection of restaurants and accommodations.

Notable factsEdit

  • In January 2016, Wilmot Mountain was sold to Vail Resorts for $14 million.
  • Wilmot’s Ski School was founded in 1939 by Helmut Teichner [5]
  • Gander Mountain was founded in Wilmot
  • Exhibition Run was re-contoured in the mid-1980s and a large boulder removed
  • 75% of Wilmot's income is from the Tubing Facility
  • Lights installed for night skiing in 1955 (It was such a novelty that The Tonight Show featured it)
  • Multiple Junior Olympic Medal winners have skied for the Wilmot Mountain Junior Race Team
  • Previous assets, tables, chairs, lights, and lamps were distributed equally to the Sheen/Stopa/Reese Family.
  • Walt Stopa Retires in 1960, With Diane Reese takes the CEO and Manager Position. Micheal Reese takes the General Manager Position in 1974. Micheal Reese is fired and in 2001 Dennis Sheen takes the Manager Position. In 2015, After 55 Years, Diane Reese steps down from CEO, and Robert A. Katz takes CEO position (via Vail Resorts sale). In 2017, General Manager, Dennis Sheen is replaced by Taylor Ogilive.
  • No Renovations were made to the Tubing Facility, other than the sign change. As it was built in 2011, and no renovations are needed.

LocationEdit

Wilmot Mountain is located at coordinates 42°30′0″N 88°11′20″W / 42.50000°N 88.18889°W / 42.50000; -88.18889Coordinates: 42°30′0″N 88°11′20″W / 42.50000°N 88.18889°W / 42.50000; -88.18889, just 1/2 mile south of Wilmot, Wisconsin.

Shot from the top of Superior run, 2-18-07.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Wilmot Mountain". mapper.acme.com. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  2. ^ Wimot Ski Patrol
  3. ^ CMSC
  4. ^ Skiing History Magazine
  5. ^ Past issues of Skiing History Magazine

External linksEdit