Chicago’s terrain is flat as far as the eye can see, making it tricky to use that ski gear collecting dust. The options to ski near Chicago are few and far between. But, in a little over an hour, you can hit mountainous slopes at one of the area’s best ski destinations. Read on to plan your winter family-friendly romp in the snow at Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin where new COVID-related safety protocols are firmly in place.
But First, the Basics
Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain, part of Vail Resorts (yes, that Vail), is accessibly located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. If you or your kids have never skied, Wilmot's ski lessons will have you flying down the mountain in no time. Don’t worry about buying gear, Wilmot Mountain can set you up with high-quality skiing and snowboarding equipment, including helmets.
Priority is given to season passholders for the 2020-21 season, which begins Dec. 5. In addition, reservations are required, so plan early!
Here’s What’s to Expect
Wilmot has been around since circa 1938 but the entire resort recently experienced a facelift. Skiers and boarders can now enjoy upgraded towers and chairs, rope tows, an expanded terrain park, and beginner area conveyor lifts. Plus, the base lodge was upgraded to include up-to-date décor with extra seating and improved dining options. Families with small children will love the ski and snowboard school, which during non-COVID times includes an indoor playspace.
All About Equipment Rental
The experts in the rental shop will hook your family up with everything they need to be successful on the slopes. Skis and poles, as well as snowboards and boots, of varying sizes for adults and children, may be rented. We recommend helmet usage while out adventuring and the shop can rent them to you, as well.
Learn How to Ski
All ages can take group or private lessons to either start from scratch or get a refresher on skiing and snowboarding. This season, no more than 6 students will be allowed per group class, face coverings are required, a health screening will be completed upon arrival and all lessons will meet outdoors to allow for distancing.
Something for the Non-Skiers of the Group
Whether you choose to stay off of skis and boards or want to add something extra, snow tubing is also available. You'll find it just down the road from the skiing/snowboarding area. Dress warm—it’s windy—wear goggles for comfort and visibility, and prepare for a fun nighttime adventure on the 22-lane tubing area. The best part: you won’t have to drag the tube—or yourself—back up the hill. A conveyor belt will do that for you. Afterward, warm up in the tubing lodge and enjoy snacks and hot cocoa.
Reserve in Advance to Play
Lift tickets will not be available to purchase in-person for the 2020-21 season, reservations must be made online or via the call center. This will help keep skiers safe by minimizing lines at the ticket window. It is expected that because of limited capacity, lift tickets will be in high demand and will sell out. So, plan early!
Kids ages 4 and under are eligible for a free lift ticket. It is not necessary to make a reservation for them in advance, simply go to the resort ticket office and pick up a pass.
Good to know
While lodging isn’t available at Wilmot Mountain, there are several nearby options, including Dragonfly Bed and Breakfast, Hampton Inn & Suites Kenosha, Candlewood Suites Kenosha, The Cove of Lake Geneva, and Best Western Plus Antioch Hotel and Suites.
So, what are you waiting for? Gear up, head out, and have an adventuresome time with your family this winter at Wilmot Mountain!
Find out more by visiting wilmotmountain.com.
— Wendy Altschuler