NEGAUNEE — The Ishpeming Ski Club is celebrating its 133rd year of operation. Head Ski Jump Coach Gary Rasmussen and club volunteers are currently getting ready for the Annual Suicide Hill Ski Jumping Tournament on January 21.
The tournament will consist of a ski jumping competition, a Nordic combined ski race, and a junior world championship qualifier. Skiers come from all across the United States and parts of Europe to participate in this event every year.
For Rasmussen, the annual tournament is special for many reasons–one being his own family’s history. His father set the hill record over 70 years ago, and his legacy is being remembered and celebrated this year.
“Suicide Hill was probably the third or fourth ski jump in the club,” explained Rasmussen. “It was built in 1925 and first competed on in 1926. This year’s tournament is actually in honor of my father, Wilbert Rasmussen, who set the hill record at age 15 in 1946. He then went on to make an Olympic team and two world championship teams and won a national title. We’ve had several Olympians out of the Ishpeming Ski Club, and we hope to have several more.”
Due to its legacy, international draw, and local involvement, the Ishpeming Ski Club has become an important part of the community over the years. The community shows that every season through their support—whether by coming out to ski, donating to the club, or even by shoveling snow and grooming the hills.
“I think it’s important to these communities,” said Rasmussen. “Ishpeming, Negaunee, and Marquette are proud of our ski jumping heritage. These people pack this bowl every year, and they support us financially. People pitch in and really love this sport and want the heritage to go on and on for another 133 years.”