Copper Peak, Mich., ski jump sets example for Big Thunder
Jump closed in 1994 in Michigan's UP to re-open next summer
A ski jump in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that will re-open after nearly 25 years, sets the example for a group in Thunder Bay, Ont that hopes to bring ski jumping back to Ontario.
Copper Peak, just north of Ironwood, Mich., was shuttered in 1994, partially because of financial difficulties. After years of maintenance and perseverance, the jump will re-open for the summer of 2019, hold a FIS (International Ski Federation) summer ski jumping event.
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"People are just going to be amazed when they get up close and see it, and see the jumpers coming off."
Copper Peak had its last official jumpers launch off the ski flying hill in 1994. Since then, the jump has operated as a summer tourist attraction, bringing visitors to the top of the jump to take in a 2500 square mile view.
Even with the jump re-opened to skiers, it will still be used, at this point, only in the summer.
"People will be able to jump in the summer, and it will bring in people who have never seen it up close and personal."
A new porcelain track will be installed, and a plastic landing surface is put onto the hill. Jumpers will be able to launch off the 145 metre jump without any snow.
"You take baby steps with this type of thing. No big giant steps take place. It has come. We've had to be very patient, and we still have to be patient. We just keep the adventure ride going, it's our income, and we re-invest."
It's a long way to the top
It's a long way to the top of the Copper Peak jump. Visitors take an elevator up 18 stories, then can hike up another 87 feet of stairs. Due to its height, the jump sways in the wind - up to 17 inches each way.
The jump gained notoriety after Sammy Carlson, a freestyle skier and X-Games competitor flew off the jump, switch (backwards).
"It's going to do such a big thing for the sport. Once people see it and are able to get their hands on it, literally come here and watch it, see it all summer long, hopefully it'll be a training site."
"We're all pumped. We all have our different jobs. I just want it to go so bad I'll do most anything to help out around here. I'll sell tickets, run the elevator, chairlift, and cut the lawns, paint, just like today, working up there."
"We're so fired up. We just have to be patient."