Vail Resorts buys Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain | SummitDaily.com

Vail Resorts buys Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain

Summit Daily staff report
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Vail Resorts buys Wisconsin's Wilmot Mountain

Vail Resorts, Inc. purchased Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin near the Illinois state line, the Broomfield, Colorado-based company announced Tuesday, Jan. 19.

The acquisition, located 65 miles north of Chicago, expands the resort company's collection of urban ski areas in the Midwest region of the United States after securing both Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan in December 2012 for $20 million in cash. Terms of the Wilmot Mountain deal were not yet available.

"Wilmot is steeped in skiing tradition and enjoys tremendous brand recognition among Chicago and Milwaukee skiers and snowboarders," said Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, in a news release. "We are thrilled to welcome Wilmot Mountain to the Vail Resorts family."

Wilmot Mountain was founded in 1938 by Walter Stopa, who opened the ski area with a single rope tow. By the 1950s it was recognized as one of the most successful ski destinations in the Midwest, and today offers 25 trails, four terrain parks, a ski and snowboard school, ski-racing program and a tubing hill with 23 lanes.

Vail Resorts plans to remodel both the on-mountain and base-area experience at Wilmot with enhancements that include redesigned and updated terrain parks, instruction for all ability levels, expanded dining and entertainment options and integrated technology through its EpicMix program. The resort company will also invest in improving the ski area's infrastructure with upgraded snowmaking, parking and access. More specific details on the retrofit will be discussed during the company's March earnings call.

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Access to Wilmot will be included with the 2016-17 Epic and Epic Local ski passes that already comprise the two prior Midwestern destinations, in addition to resorts in Colorado, California and Utah, as well as Perisher Ski Resort in Australia.

High Country Conservation Center launches new energy program

Local residents who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income (AMI) are now eligible for a new energy savings program in Summit County called CARE, or the Colorado Affordable Residential Energy.

The High Country Conservation Center, also known as HC3, partnered with Energy Outreach Colorado, a nonprofit that helps low-income families and seniors pay energy bills, to create the program. To get started, Summit County residents who meet the income criteria, pay their own utility bills and have their own heating systems should contact HC3 to schedule a free energy coach in-home visit.

Even if an occupant (either a tenant or homeowner) does not qualify under CARE, HC3 still encourages he or she to call the office because the center has several energy programs available for various income levels. As part of CARE, depending on the needs of the home, energy updates could include a furnace or boiler safety check and/or tune-up, insulation and air sealing, a high-efficiency refrigerator and/or water heater, LED light bulbs, programmable thermostat and low-flow shower heads.

"This program is for households with incomes that are too high to qualify for Northwest Colorado Council of Government's weatherization program," explained Marty James, HC3's energy programs coordinator. "Households won't have to pay for any of these improvements if the energy coaches think they need to be updated or replaced."

Energy Outreach Colorado will handle the paperwork to ensure households qualify for the CARE program.

"These energy efficiency upgrades mean these families and seniors are going to save on their utility costs, and that will trickle down to decisions about what food and medications they can afford," said Luke Ilderton, Energy Outreach Colorado's director of energy efficiency programs. "The upgrades will also make their home healthier and safer, giving them a more comfortable living environment."

The limited funding available to residents for the CARE program is on a first-come, first-served basis, so interested parties should call the Energy Smart Colorado team at HC3 sooner rather than later to see if they qualify. This HC3 group may be contacted at: (970) 668-5703 or summit@energysmartcolorado.com. And for more information about the High Country Conservation Center's mission of promoting practical solutions for waste reduction and resource conservation in the mountain community, visit: http://www.highcountryconservation.org.

—Compiled by Kevin Fixler