I was recently reminded by a reader, commenting on an article I wrote on some of the earliest ski areas in the Midwest, that Wilmot Mountain has a long, proud history. I didn't include Wilmot in the article, and he is right.
Driving north out of Chicago, Wilmot, located on the Wisconsin side of the Wisconsin/Illinois border, is about the first rise you see in the landscape. It's unassuming vertical drop of 230 feet is offset by its stature with the million or so Chicagoland skiers that have skied here since it first opened in 1939. There were less than a handful of ski areas in the region at that time.
Helmut "Pepe" Teichner, considered the Dean of Midwest ski school directors, founded the ski school at Wilmot Mountain in that year, and over the next half-century it taught more than 500,000 Chicagolanders to ski. He passed away in 2001, but the Wilmot ski school is still going strong and teaching a whole new generation the sport of skiing and snowboarding.
Located on an ancient glacial moraine the ski area stretches for almost a mile along the ridge, Wilmot's eight chairlifts and six surface tows keep skiers and riders moving up and down the ridge. Typical of ski areas near large metropolitan areas, nightfall finds the parking lot full of cars and the lodge rocking with people. There's racing for all age levels and a busy après ski scene. Weekends can be hectic, but they handle crowds well.
Kudos to Wilmot Mountain for all the Midwesterners it has introduced to snow sports over the last 70 years. It's a mainstay of the Heartland ski and ride scene.