Villa Olivia in Illinois is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Villa Olivia, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsVilla Olivia is a restaurant and banquet facility, golf course, and ski, snowboard and snow tube complex in Bartlett, Illinois, a northwest suburb about 45 minutes from Chicago. It's operated by the Bartlett Park District and bills itself as "Chicagoland's Closest Ski Area." Urban dwellers looking for a quick outing can ski and snowboard seven days a week starting from mid-December to early March. Snow tubers can hit the slopes on Wednesday and Friday nights and all day Saturdays and Sundays. The winter break session includes skiing, snowboarding and tubing on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
The MountainDesigned mostly for beginner and intermediate skiers, the family-oriented ski area is a fun and easy-to-get-to option for big-city Chicagoans. The mountain at Villa Olivia has a 180-foot vertical drop, and its longest run is about a quarter-mile. Skiable terrain is about 15 acres. The resort will make snow as necessary with 100 percent snowmaking ability. The Chicago area sees about 35 inches of natural snowfall each year.
Trails And LiftsThe majority of the seven ski and snowboard runs at Villa Olivia are easy to intermediate level. There is one black-diamond advanced run, and the terrain park is rated as difficult. One quad chairlift and six towropes bring skiers and snowboarders back up the hill. The tube run also has a lift. Cross-country skiing is available. An active ski patrol keeps the area safe for kids, beginners and more advanced skiers and boarders.
In The NewsThe Bartlett Park District purchased Villa Olivia in late 2010, after voters approved an $18 million bond issue to fund the purchase and other improvements to Bartlett facilities. The Daily Herald, which covers suburban Chicago news, reported in December 2010 that $6.2 million would be spent to upgrade the Villa Olivia complex, including the banquet hall and ski lift. Norwegian-born John Helgesen brings his instructional skills to the Villa Olivia Ski & Snowboard School. Lessons are available for first-time skiers and snowboarders as well as novices, intermediate-level participants and those with advanced skills.
CostBartlett Park District residents pay reduced rates at Villa Olivia with proof of residency. Ski and snowboard tickets range from $12 to $39 for all-day access on weekends and holidays, and from $10 to $29 for partial-day access. Season passes run from $275 to $400, and group rates and family rates are also available. Snow-tubing rates are separate and cost between $5 and $20. Equipment rental rates for various package combinations range from $13 to $39. Helmets are $5.
Apres-SkiSkiers, snowboarders and tubers can warm up and purchase food and drinks at the Villa Olivia cafeteria at the bottom of the hill. The Villa Olivia Country Club, part of the complex, offers lunch Tuesday to Friday with salads, sandwiches and soups on the menu. The club also features a weekly Sunday brunch in a fine dining atmosphere. The Village of Bartlett offers other dining options and various community events that are open to the public, including the annual Arts in Bartlett celebration.
WATCH: Villa Olivia
Novice skiers and snowboarders can enjoy a day on the slopes at Villa Olivia in Bartlett, Illinois.