Little Switzerland Sale Completed
SAM Magazine-Slinger, Wisc., Jan. 1, 2011: After months of negotiation, Schmitz Brothers, LLC has purchased Little Switzerland Ski Area from Wayne Erickson. Schmitz Brothers consists of veteran resort owner/manager Rick Schmitz and two siblings, all of whom grew up skiing at Little Switzerland. They plan to invest heavily and open for the 2012-13 ski season. The hill, founded in 1941, has been closed since 2007.
Wayne Erickson had bought the area last spring, in May of 2011, from Jane Herte, daughter of area founder Ed Herte. Erickson has renovated the area's base chalet and retains ownership of it; he will operate a bar/restaurant on the second level.
Schmitz Brothers, LLC purchased the land and chairlifts surrounding the lodge and will lease the lower level of the chalet from Erickson to run the ski operation. They will keep the Little Switzerland name.
Rick Schmitz currently owns and operates Nordic Mountain Ski Area in Mt. Morris, Wisc., and Blackjack Resort in Upper Michigan. He will serve as a consultant on the project for his two brothers, Mike and Dave Schmitz, who will handle the operations of the resort. Parents Ralph and Arlene, also investors in the project, will help operate the resort, bringing years of experience at Nordic Mountain with them.
"The property has so much potential.," said Rick Schmitz. "From growing up on the slopes of Switz, we know what a great area it once was. It needs a lot of TLC, but all the key ingredients are still there to bring the area back to being a premier ski destination for the Milwaukee metro area." The brothers plan to renovate the lower level of the chalet, update the chairlifts to code, and install a new snowmaking system.