Chestnut Mountain, one of the lower Heartlands largest ski resorts, has a new owner, but you probably won't see much difference in the operation and great snow they provide.
Chestnut, which is nearing its 50th anniversary, had been owned by longtime St. Louis businessman Joe Burstein since 1979. The Paul family, who purchased the property, has been residents of rural Jo Daviess County and the Galena area for over 20 years.
The area received a lot of upgrades over the last few years and offers some of the best skiing and riding in the lower Midwest. It's considered one of the top areas for Chicagoland twin-tippers and riders with its 7-acre Farside Terrain Park and a huge rail garden positioned on top of the bluff near the 450-room hotel that overlooks the Mississippi River. A just completed three-year snowmaking expansion now gives Chestnut the ability to completely open its runs with less than 48-hours of snowmaking.
The new owners look forward to many exciting changes, including the addition of an outdoor deck overlooking the beautiful river from the tall bluffs. An upgrade on the restaurant and dining options, including the new deck, also has been talked about.
Plans call for longtime GM Mike Murphy and his excellent staff to continue operating the resort, which is a good move. They have kept the resort operating in tip top condition for the last 25 years. During that time Chestnut has been named among the top 10 Midwest ski resorts on more than one occasion in national snowsports magazine reader polls.