When Jim Wiseman Purchased what is now Swiss Valley back in 1968 the entire operation consisted of an old farmhouse and seven rope tows. The day before opening of his inaugural ski season, five of the seven rope tows were condemned. What humble beginnings.
Wiseman persevered, and today Swiss Valley is within an hour’s drive of over one million people. Swiss Valley entices folks to come ski from all over southern Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, with 11 runs, a 225 vertical foot peak (Highest in Southwest Michigan) and seven lifts, including 2 quads and one triple.
As one of the first areas in the country to embrace Freestyle skiing, the resort has sponsored The Swiss Valley Extreme Team since 1975. Coach Mark Osborne has been hand fashioning jumps well before terrain parks were popular.
Over the years Swiss Valley has been a gateway to the wonderful winter sport of skiing for thousands of people. Some very notable people have made “French Fries & Pizza Pies” at Swiss. NFL hall of fame quarterback, Joe Montana learned to ski at Swiss Valley during his days at Notre Dame. Ski magazine editor-in-chief, Andy Bigford was Swiss Valleys director of racing during his teen years. And more recently skiers like Ryan McCullough, X-Games competitor and John Riopel, a number one ranked male under 18 was named to the US Freestyle Ski Team competing in aerials.*
Swiss Valley History Timeline:
• Began as Little Switzerland in 1960
• Originally built by Dagmar and Louie Danley.
• James Wiseman purchased the area in 1968 and has owned and operated Swiss Valley for the past 42 years.
• We started in 1968 with 122 pair of rental skis and we presently have 2000 pair of rental skis and over 500 snowboards.
• In 1968 we had 7 rope tows, no snow making and only one lodge for services.
• In 1978 & 1979 we operated earth movers 24 hours a day during the two summer seasons to move 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt to build our area to 225 vertical feet, and increase our longest of 11 runs to 1800 feet.
Swiss Valley Present:
• We now have 4 rope tows, 2 quads and one triple chairlift providing an uphill capacity of 9,800 skiers per hour.
• In 1997 we added the terrain park, which offers tabletops, high spines, grind rails and pyramids for skiers, snowboarders and twin tippers who want to perfect their stunts. In 2006 we added an additional “starter” terrain park in response to request for easy, fun , low surface features that are great for learning to jib, ride and bonk.
• Night Skiing is available every night on 100% of the area.
• Snow Farming guarantees skiing! – All we need is cold weather. We have a tremendous snowmaking capacity, with the ability to turn over 2000 gallons of water per minute into snow. Given temperatures in the low teens, with the operation of our snowmaking guns for 30 hours, and using 3.3. Million gallons of water we are able to have 100% of our runs open without the gift of snow from Mother Nature.
• Ski & Board Shop offers a full line of equipment, apparel and trained service personnel.
• Several different facilities include a National Ski Patrol Building, Cafeteria, The Chalet and a Fireside Lounge for restaurant dining, live music and relaxing.
• 2005-2006 Expanded the Terrain Park, adding more features.
• 2006 – 2007 Season, Huge upgrade to the snow making system, installed new pipe system and more hydrants for increased and more efficient snowmaking.