Vail Resorts reshaping ski hill in Wisconsin |

Vail Resorts reshaping ski hill in Wisconsin

Vail Resorts, Inc. plans to infuse $13 million into improvements at Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin before winter 2016-17, the Broomfield, Colorado-based company announced on Thursday, March 10.

Vail made public the purchase of the resort, located 65 miles north of Chicago, on Jan. 19, 2016, which added to its portfolio of Midwestern locales after the 2012 acquisitions of Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan. The resort company noted at the time of obtaining Wilmot intentions of upgrades to the property founded in 1938 with only a single tow rope.

“We think our guests from Chicago and Milwaukee will be thrilled with the investments we are making at Wilmot for the 2016-17 ski season, which represents one of the biggest transformations ever undertaken for a Midwestern ski area,” Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts said in a news release.

The number of improvements in the multi-million dollar project are numerous. They include:

Three four-person chairlifts to replace older, existing lifts to increase capacity by up to 45 percent, as well as a new high-speed rope tow in the terrain park and two new surface conveyor lifts in the beginner area

Upgrades to the base area lodge, adding 400 seats and more food and beverage offerings. A new bar will also be installed, as well as Wi-Fi access

A dedicated kids’ ski and snowboard school, and re-grading of the learner terrain, including the aforementioned surface conveyor lifts

Expanded terrain park including features designed by park staff at Vail’s western resorts and the high-speed rope tow

Improvements to the snowmaking infrastructure such as new energy-efficient guns and pumps to increase capacity, allowing the resort to open more terrain earlier in the season

Upgrades to the Alpine Racing features, the race arena and timing systems to better support local ski clubs and racing programs, as well as to attract larger races to the region

Vail Resorts also confirmed Wilmot will be included in its Epic Pass season lineup, which also comprises Afton Alps and Mount Brighton, in addition to resorts in Colorado, California, Utah and Perisher Ski Resort in Australia. As a bonus, skiers and snowboarders who buy their Epic Pass by April 10 will also receive six “Buddy Tickets” and six “Ski with a Friend” tickets, both of which provide discount-rate lift tickets to friends and family.

Inaugural county energy challenge

The High Country Conservation Center (HC3) in Frisco announced on Wednesday, March 9, the launch of its first-ever Green-off Challenge for Summit County households, selecting three local families to participate.

The three households will compete against each other for six months, making changes to their daily lives in an effort to become more environmentally sustainable. Contestants will be announced on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, during HC3’s “Fix It Workshop” at the Summit County Community and Senior Center.

Families will receive a free sustainability assessment and home energy audit, along with a score based on the environmentally-savvy activities that they already employ. Once the score is assessed, each family will commit to improving their score by implementing changes that make their households greener and more energy efficient.

“HC3 started this challenge because we are looking for ways to engage local families to get them involved in green initiatives,” said Jenny Hammock, the organization’s community programs coordinator, through a release. “We felt that creating a competition would motivate families and encourage one another to commit to becoming more environmentally conscious.”

HC3 staff will provide coaching, resources and tools to help each family on their journey. A panel of non-HC3 judges will then select winners at the Annual Harvest Dinner at Vinny’s Euro American Restaurant in Frisco in September. Prizes will be awarded for the greenest home, most improved and most energy savings.

In order to qualify for the challenge, a family must be a household of two or more and live in Summit County full time and year-round. Each household must also have an interest in improving sustainability of their home and be willing to have HC3 staff conduct a sustainability assessment and energy audit. Finally, the family must also keep a monthly blog for six months, writing about their experiences.

To apply, interested households should contact the High County Conservation Center at (970) 668-5703 or online through HC3’s website:

—Compiled by Kevin Fixler

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