Illustration: John Kenzie

Slope bums in Chicago have long faced a sad truth: Quality skiing is a long drive north or a flight west. Enter (massively upgraded) Wilmot Mountain, just over the Wisconsin border. Last winter, Vail Resorts acquired the property, which is about an hour from the city, and overhauled it in the off-season.

13 million

Dollars spent on renovations


Square feet for the kids’ ski school


Features, such as jumps, moguls, and halfpipes, in the new terrain park


Percent more capacity on the chairlifts


Miles of pipe to feed the updated snowmaking system


Colorado-grade runs
(it is still the flatlands of the Midwest)