It looks like Mother Nature decided to have a winter after all. If you like snow, here’s an outdoor event you won’t want to miss.
Ski jumping will take place in Southwestern Wisconsin Feb. 5-6. If we really have cold weather, be sure you don’t miss this fun and thrilling winter event.
The 93d Annual Snowflake Ski Tournament will be held at the Snowflake Ski Club near Westby, 25 miles southeast of La Crosse. There will be over 20 jumpers from across the US, and foreign jumpers from Finland, Norway, Slovenia and maybe Russia. All jumps will be on a “118 meter hill,” which is the same sized jump used in Olympic competition.
The competition will begin at 7 p.m Feb. 5 with opening ceremonies. Jumping at night under lights provides an exciting party atmosphere. It will feature warming fires, tailgating and a dance after the competition is done.
Competition Feb. 6 will begin at noon, and generally is more family oriented. A dance will again be held after the competition. Results of both competitions will be used to determine tournament winners.
In addition to the normal jumping for points seen during the Olympics, there will be a crowd-pleasing “standing long jump” where jumpers who are brave enough try to have the longest jump of the day without falling. This is normally when new hill records are set. The jumper’s style, an important part of the score, does not count for these jumps. The Snowflake Queen and her court “pass the hat” among spectators to build up a pot of money for the jumper who wins. Standing Long Jumps will take place Feb. 6 after the end of regular competition.
Lots of other activities will be going on during the ski tournament, including a dance with live music by “The Freezers” and dancing on Friday. On Saturday, there will be live music by “The Back Home Boys” and dancing after the competition. Admission to both is free with a button; a $5 cover charge applies to those without a button. There will be opportunities for children to dig in a large snow pile for over $100 in quarters on Saturday, when there will also be helicopter rides for a reasonable fee. Horse drawn rides on Saturday will be available for a small donation. A food stand will provide refreshments both days, and there will be rendezvousers camping on the site and selling pelts and caps.
Admission is $20 per person purchased at the gate for both days, or $15 if purchased earlier at various local outlets in the Coulee Region or on line. Veterans’ buttons are only available at the gate at no cost.
The Snowflake Ski Club, working in conjunction with Logistics Health, is proud to admit all veterans and their spouses at no charge upon display of a DD Form 214, a VA card or membership card for the American Legion or VFW. If you are serving on active duty, are an active member of the National Guard or Reserves, are in ROTC, or are a military retiree, you and your spouse and children will be admitted free. Just present an ID card at the gate.
Westby is a small town of 2,000 with a rich Norwegian tradition, which explains the ski jumping tournament. It has a wonderful Scandinavian gift shop, an award winning creamery with a wide variety of cheeses and cheese curds, several antique stores and excellent bed and breakfasts nearby. There are many fine restaurants and motels in the area.
Westby is also located in a large Amish area, and many Amish farmers sell such items as furniture, quilts, honey and maple syrup on their farms or in local shops.
Dress warmly – these are outdoor winter events. There will be bonfires and other interesting activities for the family.
This is in a very scenic part of Wisconsin known as the Coulee Region. In addition to everything going on at the events and the surrounding area, there is a lot to do and see in the historic nearby Mississippi River city of LaCrosse.
Be sure to bring your camera and a noisemaker like a cow bell or horn. The crowd traditionally recognizes the really good jumps with noise. There is plenty of free parking, and if you arrive early enough you may be able to find a spot to watch the competitions from your car.
Check out the ski club’s web site for pictures, a map, admission fees, to purchase buttons, and exciting YouTube videos at www.snowflakeskiclub.com.