Silver Mine jumpers, grounds crew battle winter 'heat'

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - With temperatures reaching the 40s Friday, crews at the 127th annual Silvermine Invitational ski jump competition had to make adjustments to keep the track safe but fast.

After months of planning and construction, the new hill for this year’s competition saw its first jumps this week.

Crews and jumpers said the warm weather brings extra challenges, but won't keep them from a successful event.

"The track is getting a bit mushy from the hot weather. So with that hot weather comes difficult, because they have to delay the jumpers," 15-year-old jumper, Matthew Polz, from Alberta, Canada said.

"Usually with the track, it's really solid ice. And with that warm weather, it melts it. So you lose a lot of speed and it's a lot harder to go far," he said.

With the warmer weather and the sun making an appearance, crews did have to put down tarp to keep the track from heating up.

"The track is looking really good. We got the sun shades on their and everything. So it's actually looking great," chief of hill Zach Jastrow said.

"(Friday), there shouldn't be any delays. (Saturday) it's supposed to be really windy," event organizer Dave Tomten.

"We could get gusts of 40 (miles per hour), we're going to have to play to wind or keep jumpers off," Jastrow said.

"It's always a lot nicer to be able to go far and everything. But the fact that it's the same for everybody else, it's not that bad. So it's not an advantage to anybody," Polz said.

"They love jumping where they can jump a long ways and land safely, and that's what this new design is created for Eau Claire and the jumping circuit," Tomten said.