Ski club gets nod for 100-Plus Women money

The side boards have been removed to prepare for hill modifications and new marker steps at Giant Pine Mountain, thanks to a roughly $24,000 donation from 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County to the Kiwanis Ski Club. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Kiwanis Ski Club recently got a big jump on fundraising for improving its Pine Mountain hill, thanks to 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County.

At its third quarterly meeting of 2017, the 100-Plus Women earlier this month chose the ski club to receive about $24,000 in donations to help the non-profit group make much-needed upgrades to continue hosting its annual Giant Pine Mountain Ski Jumping competition.

Founded in 1939, the Kiwanis Ski Club is among the oldest jumping organizations in the nation. It is completely run by volunteers who work thousands of hours each year to prepare the ski hill and host the annual Pine Mountain event.

That competition, the only Continental Cup Ski Jumping Tournament in North America, annually draws about 75 jumpers, coaches and trainers from around the world, along with thousands of tourists and local spectators that pump more than $300,000 into the local economy.

But the ski club has been told several major improvements must be made to the hill and venue in the next three years to maintain its International Ski Federation, or FIS, accreditation for its Continental Cup competition, set in 2018 for Feb. 10-11.

The 100-Plus Women money will be used for side board modifications and new marker steps to ensure the safety of jumpers and hill workers.

The hill’s landing area needs to be adjusted from a 37-degree slope to about 30 degrees, said Nick Blagec, Kiwanis Ski Club president.

“Bacco (Construction Company) has started work on this already and an official from FIS will be coming to check on our progress on Oct. 18,” said Nick Blagec, Kiwanis Ski Club president.

The ski club learned in May the Internal Revenue Service had reclassified it as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. That new status means donations to the club are tax-deductible — and made the group eligible for 100-Plus Women consideration.

The 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County gather every three months at Pine Grove Country Club, chipping in $100 as teams or individuals to get a vote on who gets the overall pot. Three names of worthy causes are pulled from a hat and those three make their case to the crowd on why they merit the money.

This was the 20th meeting and fifth anniversary for 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County, which to date has awarded more than $420,000 to local organizations and charities.

The donation, while sizable, won’t cover all of the work needed for the Pine Mountain venue, Kiwanis Ski Club officials said. Stage two, which must be done by the 2019 event, is more significant. The start gates must be widened, a stair tower built and a warming shelter completed alongside the scaffold. Finally, an elevator must be installed by 2020.

“We have a long way to go in terms of overall funding for the next two years, but this fantastic donation allows us to complete Phase 1 of our modifications and stay on schedule,” said Daniel Freemen, vice president of the Kiwanis Ski Club. “Meetings have been ongoing with local construction companies in planning for Phase 2 and Phase 3, which we hope to be completed in the summer of 2018.”

The 100-Plus Women Who Care in Dickinson County next will meet Nov. 14. All interested women are invited to participate. For more information or to join the group, email