Flying Eagles Ski club teaches kids the sport

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- For many skiers in the Chippewa Valley, participating in the Silver Mine Invitational is a goal of theirs.

The Silver Mine Invitational is one of the pinnacle events in ski jumping.

But before people can get there, they come to the Flying Eagles Ski Club.

"Some who are competitive, some who just come out for fun. There's a massive range of people who come out to ski," said Flying Eagles Head Coach Nick Mattoon.

Three nights a week, 26 families head out to Mt. Washington to practice ski jumping.

11-year-old Annie Misurek has been skiing with the club for seven years now.

"It's definitely something to look forward to and I think it's just taught me to be brave and try new things," she said.

There are many different skill levels in the club.

From the seven meter hill, to the 30 meter hill.

But for many, the end goal is to jump at Silver Mine.

13-year-old Mason Gorski will be doing that for the first time this weekend.

"It's just always been kind of my goal since I started. I really want to jump Silver Mine and it's just, I've been going to that competition I believe since I was about two years old. And I remember my mom would tell me, you're never doing that and here I am doing it," said Gorski with a smile.

Gorski has been with the club for six years.

There's something about jumping off the hill that makes the sport thrilling for him.

"Just the sensation of being in the air when you're on a bigger hill. You just get to feel yourself gliding through the air," he explains. "It's just great."

Leading Gorski, and the rest of the Flying Eagles, is Mattoon.

A former professional ski jumper himself.

"You go from being a pro athlete to now coaching young kids and trying to get them into the spot you were in. And it's a massive transition for yourself because you're so used to competing yourself that you think these things are easy that they're doing, which they're not," said Mattoon.

There are plenty of falls at Flying Eagles practice.

But one thing is constant, everyone gets back up and heads back to the top of the hill.

Anyone interested in joining the Flying Eagles Ski Club, or learning how to ski jump, can contact the club.

Gates for the 134th Silver Mine Invitational open Friday at 4 p.m. and the event wraps up Saturday night.