Last updated on August 26th, 2019 at 05:05 pm
ROC Ventures, owner and developer of The Rock, announced today a purchase agreement and long-term lease with Schmitz Brothers, LLC, which operates Little Switzerland.
The agreement is aimed at bolstering The Rock’s winter programming and increasing traffic for businesses in Ballpark Commons, a proposed mixed-use development near the complex.
“As Ballpark Commons gets closer and closer to groundbreaking, we looked for a proven operator to solidify our ski hill offerings while we shift operating focus to other businesses,” said Michael Zimmerman, owner of ROC Ventures.
Zimmerman said the Schmitz Brothers have a proven track record.
Schmitz Brothers purchased Little Switzerland in 2012, reopening the ski resort after it had been closed for five years. The Schmitz Brothers also operate Nordic Mountain Ski Area in Wild Rose, Wisconsin.
“After seeing them turn around Little Switzerland so dramatically, we knew we’d found the folks we wanted to work with,” Zimmerman said.
Under the partnership, Zimmerman envisions expanding The Rock’s four-season programming on the hill, including the addition of zip lining, tubing and youth camps in the summer.
“We are excited to be a part of all of the exciting changes at The Rock,” said Rick Schmitz, one of the owners of Schmitz Brothers. “The snow park has some excellent ski terrain, a great tubing park, and immense potential for school groups, freestyle terrain parks, racing, and beginner programs.”
In 2011, Zimmerman transformed the former Crystal Ridge Ski Hill, at the northwest corner of West Loomis Road and South 76th Street, into The Rock, a multi-sport complex with a ski hill, baseball fields, mountain biking trails and a BMX track.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s plans for Ballbark Commons — a $130 million project that includes a 2,500-seat stadium for a minor league baseball team, restaurants, apartments and an indoor sports complex — continue to move forward. The 200-acre development would occur at both The Rock complex and on adjacent land along Crystal Ridge Drive.