126th annual ski jumping tourney set for Wednesday

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming Ski Club will keep the local ski jumping tradition going Wednesday when it hosts the 126th annual Ski Jumping Tournament at Suicide Hill.

There will be upwards of two dozen jumpers competing in the tournament, including four Norwegians, three Finns, three Canadians and a dozen or so U.S. skiers, said Bob Hendrickson, vice president of the ski club. The tournament is the last stop in the Central Division 5 Hills Tour, with trial rounds starting at 6 p.m. and competition rounds to follow.

“If you want to see ski jumping this will be the time to come out and check out the events,” Hendrickson said. “It’s been part of the community for 126 years and it’s just a great family tradition to come out and enjoy it.”

The grooming of the jump and landing area began two weeks ago and continues. According to Hendrickson, it takes about a week of full time work done by a crew of about 10 volunteers just to get the jump itself ready.

“This year has been very challenging with the snow conditions we’ve had. The snow hasn’t been easy to scoop up and move around, so we’ve had to break it down a little bit more than usual, which takes up more time,” Hendrickson said. “The cold weather has also been a challenge for the hill crew with just having to be out there all day for eight hours, and it’s hard on the body.”

On the bright side, he said the weather for the tournament on Wednesday night is looking really favorable for the event.

There will be bonfires to keep spectators warm throughout the night and the tournament will end with a fireworks display. Buttons, which serve as a ticket, cost $15 for adults, $10 for students – including college students – and free for children 12 years old and younger.

Buttons are available at Wilderness Sports, Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, Elaine’s Place, Jasper Ridge Brewery, Jubilee Foods, Congress Pizza and Bucks Restaurant in Ishpeming; at Super One Foods and Midtown Bakery in Negaunee; and at Sports Rack and Down Wind Sports in Marquette. Buttons are also available from ski club members, all Range Bank branches and at the gate.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.