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Peak Resorts Acquires Alpine Valley; New Owners Bring Back Little Switzerland

Little Switzerland, Opening Day '12

Midwest-based Peak Resorts has purchased Ohio’s Alpine Valley Ski Area, and in Wisconsin Little Switzerland Ski Area has reopened this season under new ownership after having been closed since 2007.

Peak Resorts home office is located in Missouri where Tim Boyd, CEO, purchased his first Midwest ski area, Hidden Valley, in 1982. With the most recent acquisition, they now have seven Heartland ski areas scattered across Mo., Ind., and Ohio.

Alpine Valley, in northeast Ohio, joins fellow Buckeye ski areas, Boston Mills, Brandywine and Mad River MountainPaoli Peaks in Ind., and Snow Creek in western Mo., near Kansas City. The company also owns six eastern ski resorts located in Pa., Vt., and N.H.  It’s rapidly becoming one of the largest ski holding companies in the business over the last few years.

“Alpine Valley fits strategically with how we are growing our business in markets that we’re familiar with,” Jesse Boyd, Peak Resort VP, told SnoCountry.com. “We feel this well maintained resort has potential, and we look for close integration with our Boston Mills and Brandywine resorts in nearby Cleveland.”

The ski area, first opened in 1962, has two chairlifts, four surface tows, and 11 named runs.

Meanwhile, Little Switzerland, which closed after the 2006/07 season, has reopened under new owner Rick Schmitz, who also owns Nordic Mountain in north central Wis., and Blackjack Resort in Michigan’s UP.

Over $1 million was spent refurbishing the 71-year-old ski area. Chairlifts have been updated and a beefed up snowmaking system already has the area open for business this winter. A newly remodeled Swiss Chalet lodge with a new bar, game room, ski shop, cafeteria, ski rental area and lift ticket windows was ready to greet customers on opening day.

The ski area will employ around 200 seasonal employees, Schmitz told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We saw an opportunity here, based on the location. It was owned by the same family for decades and needed some fresh energy.”

It offers five chairlifts, including a detachable quad, two surface tows, and 17 named runs scattered over 50-some acres. Like sister area Nordic Mountain the ski hill has a front and backside, which is not the norm in the Midwest.  Most Heartland ski areas only ski off one side, so it adds another dimension for visitors.

Schmitz and his brothers, who also will be involved in the business, grew up in the Milwaukee area and learned how to ski at Little Switzerland. All three of his ski areas are located within a few hours of each other.

Photo: Little Switzerland Ski Area, Wis. 



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