(WEAU) - This weekend's expected snowstorm comes at a good time as the Eau Claire Ski Club gets ready to host next month's 127th Annual Silver Mine Invitational.
Some of the top ski jumpers in the world are expected. For the first time, Eau Claire will host the USA Cup and North American Ski Jumping Championships.
Eau Claire Ski Club President Dan Mattoon told Sports Director Bob Gallaher "to host this event, we had to do these improvements. It gives the Eau Claire Ski Club new life."
$100,000 of improvements have been put into the Silver Mine Hill in the past several weeks, and thanks to 1,000 volunteer hours, more than 3,000 yards of dirt have been moved from the bottom of the hill to the top.
Mattoon says "the reason we have to do all this earthwork, the skiers have been flying away from the hill, getting a little too high when you get to those further distances, over 300 feet. Now that put in this dirt even safer for the athletes, and chance they might be able to go even further here at silver mine."
Another addition that spectators will notice are protection boards on both sides of the jump, this is to keep the jumpers safe as they attempt to ascend to record distances. "Both sides have protection boards from top to bottom, help skiers if they fell and heading toward a rock, glance off it and not get hurt," Mattoon said.
Renovations to the take-off track will also assist the jumpers like Eau Claire's Ben Loomis who won last year's long standing jump at Silver Mine, soaring 99 meters. The hill improvements will allow the jumpers to fly even further.
"Our hill is now an HS95 with K point of 84 meters, which is actually surprising that it’s a shorter point that in the past. But what happens is with these new hills the way they designs them, they have what they call the R2, which is the bottom slope of the hill, it slopes so much more gently that these athletes can actually fly further. So were anticipating jumps as far as 105 meters," Mattoon said.
The North American Ski Jumping Championships will be held at Silver Mine on January 18 and 19th.