Club needs $2M to keep ski jump event
Launches fundraising drive to pay for needed upgrades to Pine Mountain venue
IRON MOUNTAIN — Pine Mountain has hosted an international competition that celebrates ski jumping since 1939.
But if the Kiwanis Ski Club is to continue that tradition, it’ll have to come up with $2 million to finish needed upgrades on the aging venue.
The group behind the annual event announced that fundraising goal Tuesday, looking to persuade the public to invest in Giant Pine Mountain and keep ski jumping alive in Iron Mountain.
The club said it already has made several changes the International Ski Federation, or FIS, required to have a Continental Cup-level competition.
Some of that work included new guard rails, new stairs on the scaffold and a lower-level warming area under the start gates. A safer landing area awaits FIS approval.
The work will be inspected this weekend toward obtaining a temporary certificate to host the tournament Feb. 10 and 11.
The ski club, however, has learned it will need about $2 million to cover the remaining Pine Mountain work.
A new stair tower on the side of the starting stairs, a warming room atop the stairs, a wider start gate and a temporary or permanent elevator all need to be done by the 2019 tournament.
Horst Tielmann, FIS coordinator of the Continental Cup from1969 to this year, sent a video message that was played at the Kiwanis Ski Club’s town hall meeting Tuesday at Pine Grove Country Club.
Tielmann said while the club has been an excellent partner to FIS, “the jumping facility is getting old” and “it needs some major improvements for the future” of FIS tournaments.
“I really hope the ski club and the city of Iron Mountain can fulfill these steps in the project. I really hope we can see Iron Mountain/Kingsford Kiwanis club fill the next 20 years on the FIS calendar,” Tielmann said.
One boost to the fundraising effort came in May, when the Internal Revenue Service reclassified the club as a 501(c)(3) organization.
“We are now qualified to receive tax-deductible gifts, so anybody who makes donations, whether you are an individual or a business, you can donate to the Kiwanis Ski Club and it is deductible for tax purposes” said Paul Bujold, Kiwanis Ski Club treasurer.
Some businesses in the past had been limited in making contributions because of the tax status, Bujold explained.
Recently the 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County donated almost $30,000, an anonymous donor from northeast Wisconsin contributed $25,000 and Bacco Construction donated $10,000 in construction services.
“Without the help of those organizations we wouldn’t have been able to get all the work that we got done this year, in addition to all the time and effort from the volunteers” Bujold said.
Dennis Larson, founder of the Veterans Memorial atop Pine Mountain, asked for support for what the ski club event brings to the region.
“This is a win-win for the community” he said. “It might not seem significant to a lot of people, but it really is the economy of our county of Dickinson. We support what the Kiwanis Ski Club is pursuing and they support what we are doing. We do it for the veterans and we do it for the community. Two million bucks is a lot of money and I know how difficult it is to raise money.”
The club is having an economic impact study done of the Continental Ski Jumping tournament for Dickinson County.
Bujold said the impact directly from the ski club is equal to at least $250,000, based on annual budget and expenditures.
“Dickinson County has a valuable resource that is utilized year-round,” Bujold said. “Pine Mountain and the Veterans Memorial is a vital tourist attraction.”
But if the club is not successful in raising the money, the ski jumping competition will not survive.
“Get the word out to everybody that we have a big challenge ahead of us if we want to continue to host FIS and Continental Ski Jumping in Dickinson County,” Bujold said.
To help support the Kiwanis Ski Club’s efforts, go to www.soaringintothefuture.org.