For a lot of us, the bitter cold and snow is less than desirable, but for athletes at the Silver Mine Invitational, the weather is perfect. On Thursday they were practicing in 20 to 30 below wind chills and although Friday was a smidge milder, the ski jumpers got pelted with snow. But nothing is worse for ski jumping than mild weather.
"the track is great. It's perfect," says local ski jumper Ben Loomis.
The chief of landing at Silver Mine Hill, Zach Jastrow says they were a bit behind schedule getting ready for the event this weekend. The track was snowed last Sunday, cut on Monday then iced just Thursday for skiers to practice.
"We were definitely nervous because we had snow making problems, so you got to be able to make snow and you can't do it in 50 degree weather, but when we got the cool temperatures we were able to make the snow and then it just all fell through from there and we were able to get it done," says Jastrow.
Unlike last year all the snow this year was man-made which skiers say is actually better for ski jumping. "It will set up real nice and hard and we can scratch it up nice and it will be a really nice landing and then up in the end run we can ice it and it will be a nice solid end run," says Jastrow.
Friday's light snow hasn't caused much trouble. They just use a blower to blow out any snow that collects on the end run. The snow is a bit of a nuisance for some skiers.
"Like I said earlier it's like little needles...it hurts," says Grand Rapids, MN jumper Henry Kavanagh.
"These things are pretty, they're surprisingly warm and we march up the hill. We rather have it cold than the other way around," explains Master Class jumper from Minneapolis, David Zarling.
Subzero wind chills don't phase two time national champ Ben Loomis from Eau Claire.
"Oh it was definitely chilly. Kinda got to dress warm, but doesn't make to big of an impact on your performance."
This was my first time at Silver Mine and it's amazing to see what these athletes can do in the elements. Everyone I talked to says the track is perfect, which will mean for bigger jumps and more excitement for this weekend.