The World Cup ski jumping circuit will be returning to Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula in 2021 thanks to a $10 million state appropriation for the Northern Michigan Tourism and Sports Fund and the Great Lakes Sports Commission (GLSC).
Federation of International Skiing (FIS) Race Director Walter Hover and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement of the future Olympic-caliber event Aug. 14 at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming. Dates for the 2021 competition will be announced in the coming months.
“Bringing an event back to North America has been a priority for us,” says Hofer whose organization last staged World Cup competitions at the Upper Peninsula venue in 1996 and 2000.
“I’m pleased to see this commitment to bring world-class ski jump competition back to Michigan after a 21-year absence,” says Billy Demong, an Olympic gold medalist and executive director of USA Nordic Skiing. “This is truly a transformational opportunity for the entire state.”
The event will take place on a yet-to-be-determined date at the 176-foot-high Pine Mountain Ski Jump, one of the highest artificially created ski jumps in the world. Located in Iron Mountain, it currently hosts annual FIS Ski Jumping Continental Cup competitions. The Continental Cup is one competitive level below the World Cup.
The Upper Peninsula also is home to Copper Peak, the only ski flying venue in the western hemisphere. Ski flyers jump farther than ski jumpers. Copper Peak organizers are expected to submit a bid to host their own future FIS event in early 2020.
Both facilities are receiving upgrades as a result of the $10 million state appropriation.
The Great Lakes Sports Commission is a non-profit organization that promotes northern Michigan as a premier destination for sports and out-door recreation. It says that the $10 million investment will not only create next-level competition but will also enhance the economy and quality of life in Michigan.
“We are thrilled to facilitate investments that provide a winning edge for Michigan,” says Doug Luciani, chair of the GLSC. “While our work is just beginning, there are boundless opportunities to grow and attract events to northern Michigan, bring new talent, increase investment, and draw in many competitors and visitors that will generate millions of dollars for our region.”
Nationwide, outdoor recreation generates $887 billion in spending, and sports business was more than $11 billion annually; both supporting over 7.6 million direct jobs. In Michigan, skiing, fishing, hiking and mountain biking produces $26 billion in spending and supports 232, 000 thousand direct jobs.