Flying Eagles prepare for the 89th annual ski jumping competition
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - After many adjustments had already been made to ensure ski jumpers would be able to participate in this weekend’s Silver Mine Invitational, issues with equipment have forced the event to be pushed back.
However, the Flying Eagles Invitational is still on. It won’t be like previous years, but there’s still plenty the athletes are looking forward to.
Ski jump weekend has always been a big deal in Eau Claire as the Flying Eagles Ski Club has been around for 136 years. While many things have changed along the way, especially this year due to the pandemic, the ski club actually doubled in size from last year.
“We probably have roughly 15 to 20 news kids this year so a lot of them have never competed in ski jumping a lot of them have never put a bib on and gone to the top of the hill to jump,” said Dan Mattoon.
New and experienced, the junior ski jumpers have been training since the beginning of January, building up skills and confidence to compete in Saturday’s 89th Flying Eagles Ski Jumping Competition.
“From an athlete perspective it’s just to have fun. You know get out there and do something in the winter instead of sitting in your home playing video games, you know we teach kids to ski and be confident in themselves,” Nick Mattoon says.
It’s what they love to do, however the Mattoon’s say its been a challenge this season.
“Every other club of this size in the All Central Division has been closed so we have been really trying to force and make sure we give the kids a chance to train and become the skiers that they are,” Dan said.
As this weekend’s competition finally approaches, now there’s even more to be excited about at Mt. Washington, and it’s been three years in the making.
“The new 55 meter, I’m really excited to jump that hill. It will be the first time it’s ever been jumped so there’s always a little bit of buzz in the air when there’s a new hill that’s never been jumped to get some athletes out on it,” Nick says.
As for how the athletes are feeling Nick told WEAU,
“Oh they’re ready. They’re super excited and super ready.”
The event will be livestreamed on WEAU 13.2
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