Have fun at ski jumps but keep it under control

It’s safe to say this has become the biggest weekend of the year for the Iron Mountain area: the FIS Continental Cup ski jumps at Giant Pine Mountain.

It’s expected to draw tens of thousands to watch competitors from nine nations: Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Norway, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Slovakia and the United States.

It also will feature the usual raucous atmosphere, with shacks and tailgating, plenty of food and favorite beverages.

And while most who attend keep it a friendly celebration of the sport, a few in recent years decide to test the limits of public behavior at the tournament, enough that Dickinson County Sheriff Scott Rutter raised concerns about being able “to continue to provide a safe event.”

Blessed last year with spring-like conditions, the Continental Cup tournament had a record crowd estimated at about 13,000, Kiwanis Ski Club president Nick Blagec said after the event, the “best by far” in his 35 years with the club.

The weather this year again should be relatively mild, though with a temperature drop today. So the stage seems set for the crowds to be back at Giant Pine Mountain, perhaps even more than before.

The growth of this event has been wonderful to behold, a benefit to the community, a compliment to the organizers and volunteers who make it possible each year, a proper showcase for the athletes who have said Iron Mountain is a favorite stop on the schedule.

It shouldn’t be marred by a few who can’t exercise a modest amount of control. Who, Rutter said, regard it as a “free-for-all weekend” where “we’ll do what we want.”

So if attending the tournament this year, try to make sure your enjoyment of the spectacle is done in a safe and legal manner. Be cordial to the rest of the throng, including law enforcement and event workers who are there so the tournament can be as trouble-free as possible.

Have a good time but not at the expense of others.

Let’s hope for a strong, safe competition and another successful event this year.


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