IRONWOOD, MI – The Federation of International Skiing (FIS) has granted Copper Peak its approval to move forward with extensive renovations that will transform the hill into the largest summer ski jump in the world. The full facility plan includes a USA Ski Jumping National Training Center, which will allow athletes to use the Peak from the middle of June to October and through the winter. Originally built as the only ski flying hill in North America, Copper Peak will be reshaped to meet exacting FIS standards for ski jumping. The winter exhibition that was to be held at Copper Peak on February 28 through March 2, 2014 will be delayed due to immediate construction preparation. All funds already collected will be returned to ticketholders.
The original plan presented to FIS included only renovations sufficient to permit the 2014 Winter Exhibition. However, FIS sees far greater potential for Copper Peak and has recommended a new focus on renovating the hill for expanded usage. This is due in part to the booming international popularity of summer ski jumping. Europeans in particular have embraced the sport because of its more temperate weather for fans and fewer technical variables for skiers. The renovation will reposition Copper Peak as a premier destination for prestigious competitions, such as the FIS Summer Grand Prix – an event that draws the world’s top ski jumpers.
The potential regional economic and publicity impact of the restoration is significant. “Copper Peak is on the verge of international prominence,” said Mike Holland, former ski flying world distance record holder and USA Ski Jumping Chief of Club Support. “U.S. and world ski jumping communities are abuzz with excitement over plans to modernize Copper Peak. Soon, large crowds will flock to Ironwood in the winter AND summer to watch the best men (and women!) ski jumpers in the world.” Under this plan, Copper Peak will expand its possible ski jumping usage from three days a year in the winter to include as many as 50 days during the summer season, and draw potentially thousands of additional international visitors.
“What’s about to happen at Copper Peak is just plain amazing,” adds Bryan Sanders, a 1992 Winter Olympian and Chief of Competition for Copper Peak. “The Peak is reinventing itself 44 years after it first opened and 20 years after it was last used. We will embark immediately with plans to modernize the facility for both winter and summer use, and both day and nighttime use. Once complete, the Peak will attract elite athletes from around the world at both winter and summer competitions, possibly as early as 2015.”
Kris Severson, former Copper Peak flyer and sports producer, is also excited at the prospect. “The recommendations from the recent FIS visit were extremely positive. They view Copper Peak as an international ski jumping landmark. This is like a gold medal for U.S. ski jumping.”
Copper Peak opened in March 1970, and remains the largest ski jump on the American continent. Some of the world’s greatest ski jumpers and ski flyers, including Olympic champions from Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, started their early flying careers at Copper Peak. From 1970 to 1994, ten ski flying competitions took place on the Peak. Although there have been no competitions since then, for decades Copper Peak has drawn more than 10,000 visitors per year as the top tourist attraction in the Western Upper Peninsula.
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