Friday, March 11, 2016

Vail Resorts To Invest $13 Million at Wilmot Mountain

On January 19, 2016 the Company acquired Wilmot Mountain. Located approximately 65 miles north of Chicago, Illinois, Wilmot serves the Chicago area, which is one of Vail Resorts' most important destination geographies with approximately 800,000 skiers and riders. The acquisition was completed for total cash consideration of approximately $20 million.
Now Vail Resorts announced an investment of $13 million to re-imagine the entire guest experience at Wilmot Mountain. In addition, the Company announced that Wilmot will be included in the Vail Resorts season pass lineup, offering the best resort access and value in the snow sports industry on one season pass.
"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. "And, with our Epic Local Pass, our guests will now be able to ski Wilmot and all of our world-class ski resorts in Colorado, Utah and Lake Tahoe".
The Company’s $13 million commitment to upgrade and modernize Wilmot Mountain will include:

New Lifts. Three new four-person chairlifts 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 percent, allowing skiers and snowboarders more time on the slopes.
Base Area Transformation. The entire base lodge will be transformed, including 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 Wi-Fi throughout the facility. The Iron Kettle restaurant will be completely redesigned and will include a new lounge and bar where parents will be able to watch their children ski and snowboard and enjoy a full-service bar and food service in an energized, yet comfortable, setting.
New Kids’ Ski and Snowboard School and Enhanced Beginner Area. A dedicated and state-of-the-art children’s ski and snowboard center will be created adjacent to the learning terrain at the base of the ski area, featuring a playful open space for kids along with their own lunch and break room. This dedicated space will be a hallmark addition to create the premier ski and snowboard school experience in the Chicago area. 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.
New Terrain Park and High-Speed Rope Tow. A new expanded terrain park will offer unique and innovative features designed and created by terrain park staff at the Company’s western resorts, as well as the addition of a new high-speed rope tow to enable skiers and snowboarders to spend more time in the terrain park.
Expanded State-of-the Art Snowmaking. Significant improvements will be made to the snowmaking infrastructure including the addition of new energy-efficient snowmaking guns and pumps to increase the snowmaking capacity and allow Wilmot to open more terrain earlier in the season and create the ability to recover terrain quickly during the season.
Enhanced Alpine Racing Features. Improvements to both the race arena and timing systems will be made to better support the local ski clubs and racing programs, and attract bigger races in the region.

In addition to the on-mountain improvements, Vail Resorts will incorporate its best practices in all aspects of guest service and on-mountain operations. This includes guests having the ability to purchase lift tickets online with their mobile devices, world-renowned ski and snowboard school programming to help guests of all abilities improve and the high level of service that guests have come to expect at the Company’s collection of mountain resorts. Additionally, the Wilmot team will be working closely with the Company’s other urban ski areas and western resorts to incorporate best practices in grooming, snowmaking, safety and guest service, among other operational areas.
This transformational plan will coincide with Wilmot Mountain guests’ opportunity to purchase Vail Resorts season passes allowing them to ski in their own backyard and at nine world-class resorts out West: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; and Heavenly, Northstar California and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe. The Company’s season passes offer guests the flexibility to choose which pass is right for them based on how much, and where, they plan to ski and snowboard.

Vail Resorts is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons in Park City, Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).

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