December trips are always a bit of a trial. Leading up to the Christmas week; the traffic is different, everyone is a little more anxious, and we have limited snow coverage. Things tend to smooth out after the holidays and life at Blizzard reaches a state of normalcy. New processes we put in place this year should run more smoothly. For instance, no badges were mailed out this year. We are hand delivering them on the member's first trip. That's been a point of confusion for returning members. While our rental proceses with Wilmot have changes almost every year for the past 5 years, this year is the first time we have actually listed rentals as a purchaseable item as you sign up from our website. Also, another tactical point of confusion. And, finally, when Vail purchased Wilmot last year are we graciously decide to honor their Epic Pass, we still have gaps in our knowledge about who actually purchased passes, what kind of passes they purchased, and where they purchased them from. And all of that matters, as we only accept Epic Seasonal Passes, not day or weekly passes (too hard to track), and we need the pass numbers. Most of the other clubs are sponsored by a Ski Shop. Our independent not-for-profit club lacks the infrastructure and mass production of the other clubs, while still being just as large and more focused on education. This is good and bad. No one is paid full-time to ensure our 24/7 uptime. When something happens we are reactive rather than proactice and we can't put in place some of the stop gaps and fixes we would like to have. We are also the oldest club in Chicagoland, and the largest not-for-profit, I believe, nationally. So, while it can sometimes be frustrating when you can't reach us by telephone, know that cellphones are recent as is a website and this club has been around for 60 years (almost) and withstood all that has been thrown its way.
Under the "More Info" section of our website is a Calendar and Bus Schedule listing. This tells you what days we have trips planned. I heartily advocate reading our website end-to-end to find answers to your questions before firing off an email (which I know is easier.) All of the pertinent information relating to the operation of Blizzard is on our website with a few exceptions. Fundamental information about our trip schedule, when to sign up, and the rate of payment, is all found on our webpages. If you'd like a detailed review of the website, let me know, and I will do a one-on-one tutorial for you.
If you are an Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass holder, please ensure your card # is entered into our system. You can edit your Epic Pass details on the member update page from the Log In page. The Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass are the only two pass types that we accommodate as alternative payment. Any other pass type is more expensive than our own group rate tickets. Multi-day passes from Vail or Wilmot are not acceptable as alternative lift tickets as we cannot keep track of them. It is a manual process to know who has been present for each weekly trip. Also, there is a place on our Blizzard cards for Viking rental serial numbers. If you have that information and can send it over, I'd appreciate it. Any swaps of equipment should be investigated first with Blizzard. I am more automated than Viking's paper-based system.
I highly recommend reading the website pages to learn more about the club - especially the drop down pages of the "More Info" link.
You must be a member to sign up for the weekly trips. Once you become a member ("Signup/Login" tab) the "Weekly Trip" tab will be your next stop each week of our season. Remember to sign up before Thursday at 5 PM so you can avoid a late reservation fee or missing out on a seat as we max out on occassion. Please ensure that you select the correct pick up spot, and you select a rental package, if you need to rent from Wilmot for the day. Here's the rental form.
Wilmot Rental Form
All members need to have a designated competence level on their Blizzard tag for either Skiing or Snowboarding. You need to have that tag to get on the bus in the AM (so letting us know when you don't have one, is a boon to you.) It is checked twice and sometimes three times each day - in the morning, at lessons and on the way home. There's a reason for that. We are first and foremost a Snowsports School. We like to see our members attend lessons and learn more about their chosen sport. That makes us all more safe on the hill and anywhere else we choose to ski and ride. If you don't know your level, I suggest you go to classification on your next trip. It takes 5 minutes and will tell you your level and what you need to work on.
Please, please, please, mark your personal belongings. Board and Ski swaps are the norm and it has already been a problem this season. I hand delivered poles, gloves, and goggles over the past week and still have more unmarked gloves, hats, poles and a ski boot.