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Winter, West of the I

12/15/2020 - Jody Robison

Wilmot Mountain, Kenosha County Wisconsin - headquarters for Winter Fun Skiing Snow Tubing and Snow Boarding in Southeastern Wisconsin

Wintertime is here and with concerns about indoor activities in groups, we are looking for ways to socialize with social distance. Spending time outdoors and in nature is a great way to elevate your mood and get your body’s necessary vitamin D.   One of the great things about living in western Kenosha County is the number of parks and open trails that are available for a variety of free outdoor activities. If downhill skiing or snowboarding is more your speed, Wilmot Mountain is a great option. 

 

Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park (formerly KD Park)

Kenosha County Veteran’s Park is located off KD Road.  It offers 4 miles of maintained, marked trails for cross country skiing, hiking or snowshoeing.  While the 39-acre lake may appear appealing for ice skating, it is a former gravel pit that is very deep, and I would not recommend it for ice skating.

 

New Munster Wildlife Area

New Munster Wildlife Area has access from two locations, one parking lot off KD Road and a second access point off highway W.  It is directly across from Kenosha County Veterans Park.  It is a popular park for hiking given that it abuts Lily Lake and crosses over to the Fox River.  You can also cross-country ski and snowshoe as well.  These trails are not maintained.

 

Fox River Park

The highlight of Fox River Park in the wintertime is the illuminated bermed sled hill that you can sled on day or night free of charge.  There is plenty of parking and all you need is your sled.  If you want to play some disc golf, there is also a course set up in the park.  

 

Bristol Woods and Pringle Nature Center

The Pringle Nature Center occasionally sponsors self-guided hiking tours on its trails through Bristol Woods.  The trails are maintained and are also ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  In prior years, Bristol Woods was one of the few locations to rent snowshoeing equipment.

 

Winter on the Local Lakes

Any of the local lakes are ideal for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating depending on conditions.  If you want to try your hand at ice fishing and do not have equipment, I suggest posting an advertisement on a local site and you will find more than one experienced guide willing to show you the ropes.

 

Snowmobiling

While technically not free because you need a sled, the trails in Western Kenosha County are maintained and groomed by the local Twin Runners Club.  These trails are well marked and go past local establishments as well as throughout the local forest preserves and parks.  You must have a Wisconsin trail pass sticker to ride.  If you need a break from the trail, Lily Lake Resort has a full-service restaurant with daily specials and live entertainment on weekends. Wondering where to locate equipment for these activities?  Try your local thrift stores.  I spied cross-country and downhill skis, snowboards and boots as well as ice skates and snowshoes on my last visit.  Local buy/sell trade boards and consignment shops often have these items for sale.  If you want to invest in your sport, consider a local store specializing in your activity.  

 

WILMOT MOUNTAIN – WILMOT, WI

Wilmot Mountain is a premier ski and tubing area in the Midwest.  Featuring 25 trails, 7 lifts, 2 surface conveyor lifts and 4 progression terrain parks with a double high-speed rope tow, there is enough terrain to challenge experts to beginners, day or night.  For those who are not up to skiing or snowboarding, there is always a fun day waiting just down the road at the tubing area with 22 lanes and 2 surface conveyor lifts to take you back to the top.  The mountain also offers dining, retail shopping, and equipment repairs.

As many readers already know, Wilmot went through a transformation in 2016 when it was purchased by Vail Resorts.  As part of the Vail family, Wilmot is following the same strict adherence to protocols outlined by their parent company to keep skiers, snowboarders and tubers safe this year with the COVID19 pandemic going on.

The biggest change from past seasons is that there will be NO WALK UP ticket sales so if you are a planning a day trip to Wilmot, make sure you have made a reservation through the reservation system prior to arriving at the hill as ticket window sales are not permitted. If you need rental equipment, the form is available online to save time when arriving.  The second thing to note is dining.  You must reserve a table for dining in the cafeteria area.  You cannot just arrive and expect to sit at a table.

Below is the complete list of changes at Wilmot for the 2020/2021 Season

Safety has always been one the core values for Vail Resorts and will continue to guide our operations this season. Notably, Wilmot Mountain will be requiring face coverings, allowing for physical distancing and ensuring that guests and employees stay home if sick. For specific details, winter operational and safety plans are outlined in this letter from CEO Rob Katz

Here is a quick run-down on the complete list of changes to operations:

Face Coverings- We will be requiring guests and employees to wear face coverings in every part of our operations, which includes loading and riding in chairlifts; when inside all buildings; and during all ski and snowboard lessons. No one will be permitted on the mountain without a face covering

Physical Distancing- To maintain physical distancing on our chairlifts we will only be seating related parties (guests skiing or riding together) or: two singles on opposite sides of a four-person lifts. 

Reservation System- To allow for physical distancing, we will be managing access to our mountains through a reservation system and limiting lift ticket sales in order to prioritize our pass holders. This reservation system is designed to give our guests peace of mind knowing that they will have the space they need to feel safe and physically distance. For the vast majority of days, we anticipate that we will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to visit – but the reservation system will help us to allow guests the space they need, no matter when they come.

Individual day lift ticket purchases for non-pass holders began on online December 8, however, it’s very important to note that we are not allowing walk-up lift ticket sales this season. Tickets must be purchased in advance online and a guest must have a reservation to access the mountain.

Details on our full reservation system can be found here: https://www.epicpass.com/info/reservation-details

Dining- Food options in our quick-service restaurants will be more limited this season, with just a handful of ready-to-go hot and cold options and no ability for any custom or special orders. We will be spacing tables in seating areas as well to allow for physical distancing while eating. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting will take place daily and we will also be maintaining as much outdoor seating as we can.  Guests will need to make a reservation for a table inside the lodge to enjoy their meals – this can be done through the Epic Mix App.  Bathrooms will be available for guests to use. Given these limitations, we will recommend that guests adjust their schedules and try to dine earlier or later to avoid the peak lunch rush. Since stopping by one of our restaurants will not be as easy as in years’ past, we will also encourage guests to bring water, snacks and other food with them on the mountain to ensure they stay hydrated and have the energy needed for their ski day.  

Ski and Snowboard School- We are excited to offer group, private and season-long lesson options at Wilmot Mountain this season. All ski and ride school classes will have a maximum class size of six. Specifically, for 5- and 6-year-olds, the maximum class size will be four. Because 3- and 4-year-olds often spend a good portion of their lesson indoors, we will offer this age group one-on-one, one-hour private lessons. This age group is also welcome to join their family in a full- or half-day private lesson. Again, it is important to note that lessons must be booked ahead of time online at WilmotMountain.com as we will not be accepting walk-ups this season. 

Tubing- Snow Tubing at Wilmot is always a family favorite and yes, we will be open for tubing this season!  We will have a separate reservation system for tubing with 2-hour blocks available. Details can be found at our website at WilmotMountain.com.

You’ll find current hours and snow conditions on the Wilmot Mountain website. Check back often for updates!

 

MORE WINTER FUN IN THE KENOSHA AREA

If you are looking for dining or resort options in the Kenosha Area, explore VisitKenosha.com for great local venues. Many of hotels are within 15 minutes of Wilmot Mountain so if you are planning a weekend getaway, they make a great option.  One of the local favorite restaurants, Bristol 45 Diner is only 10 minutes east of Wilmot Mountain and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with daily specials. The Red Oak offers fine dining with a Farm to Table experience unlike any other. Bonus: Both currently offer carryout to take home or back to your hotel with you, too!

Jody Robinson Kenosha Community Blogger

Jody Robison

Community Blogger

Marketing Professional, Mom of 3 talented daughters, Koi pond and gardening expert. Always seeking new adventures in the Kenosha Area.

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