Season passes for Swiss Valley has just gone on sale and the lowest prices of the season are available through the end of the month.  An individual pass is currently $249 and has some nice additions this season.

You can bring a friend twice during the season for free and that includes rental equipment if needed.  Bring a friend early (before Dec. 18) and late (after March 1) season and they pay only $10 for a lift ticket.  Ski rentals are also $10 and a snowboard rental is $20.

Swiss Valley's season ski pass also entitles you to discount lift tickets at Caberfae Peaks, Crystal Mountain and Shanty Creek in Michigan; Chestnut Mountain in Illinois; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; and Holiday Valley in New York.

They are offering a $42 Parent Pass In honor of the ski area's 42 years of operation. Purchase a season pass for the child, prior to Sept. 30, and a parent or guardian that never has had a season pass before at the ski area, may purchase one for $42.  They also can rent equipment for the season for that same price.

Jim Wiseman is beginning his 42nd season as owner of Swiss Valley, which has come a long way since that inaugural season.  He bought the ski area for $7,000 that, at the time, consisted of one farmhouse and seven rope tows.  Five of the seven rope tows were condemned the day before the season was to open. 

The previous owner felt so bad for Wiseman that he gave him back $2,000 of the purchase price so he could stock his cafeteria. 

"It was very humble beginnings," Wiseman has said of the experience. 

The ski area survived, and today is in a very enviable position as ski areas go.  It's located along the Indiana border in Jones, Mich., and is within an hour's drive of a million Hoosiers located in the South Bend/Elkhart area.  Skiers and riders from as far away as Chicago and Indianapolis annually show up to play on its 11 unnamed runs.  The area has a modest, even for the Midwest, 225-foot vertical and seven lifts, which now includes two quads and triple chairlift.

As the ski area has matured and grown, so has its reputation as the place to come if you're a novice skier or snowboarder.  A large staff of 70-some instructors provide over 10,000 lessons per season.  The ski area specializes in school groups.

"It's a great sport to teach young people," says Wiseman.  "There's no sitting on the bench.  Everyone plays."

Just like a fine Swiss watch, Swiss Valley just keeps on ticking.

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