When the Westby Snowflake Ski Club Board of Directors met earlier this summer, some major repairs and improvements to the ski jumping complex were discussed and prioritized.

The project list for the volunteer-based organization has been growing for years. Recently some major renovations were completed on the junior hills and other short term fixes are in the works on areas surrounding the 118-meter large hill, including the steps, judge’s tower and viewing tower located on the sides of the jumping hill.

Over the past three years improvements already completed on the junior hills include re-contouring of the smaller hills and improvement to the outruns. Recently completed improvements to the junior hill area include the complete replacement of the deteriorated 65-meter judging tower and safety repairs to the 65-meter scaffold

Moving to the 118-meter large hill area repairs are already underway to the P. T. Bland Judging Tower, along with some immediate, short term safety improvements to the approximately 450 steps positioned alongside the 118-meter hill. The redesign and replacement of the old judging tower, used currently as a viewing facility for spectators, is also part of the long term project improvements planned at Snowflake.

Organization officials and members are very conscious of facility needs, but are struggling with the costs associated with the long list of improvements. They hired a local construction crew from Cashton to complete work on the junior hill facilities.

As a cost savings the organization approved the completion of repairs to the P. T. Bland Judging Tower internally with assistance of voluntary labor and equipment to complete the project by club members. Work on the judging tower is expected to be completed on the tower by early fall, pending weather conditions and the ability to secure lifting equipment needed to make the upgrades in an area that reaches 50-plus feet off the ground.

A design proposal for new steps to the top of the 118-meter hill and a redesign of the viewing platform area on the east side of the steps has also been submitted by a major contractor. The viewing area would be transformed into five levels extending from the steps to the edge of the jumping slope.

In search of financial assistance to complete this major renovation project the club submitted a funding proposal to the Ho-Chunk Nation for consideration, and is also seeking other funding sources.

The Snowflake Ski & Golf Club has many irons in the fire and is hoping to knock many of its “honey do” items off the list prior to the 95th Snowflake Ski Jumping Tournament scheduled for Feb. 2-3, 2018. To date the Snowflake organization has invested approximately $10,000 on repairs and upgrades.

The Snowflake Ski Club is made up entirely of volunteers, and the Club is always looking for new talent both in young jumpers and volunteers.

The resurgence of the Junior Club with the rebuilding of the junior training hills several years ago and an increasing number of young boys and girls interested in trying out the sport has been very encouraging.

Augie Schini, a member of the Snowflake Jr. Jumping team has been active this summer training at several of the year round facilities in the United States. If you are interested in learning to ski jump, contact Matt Kueler at mkeuler@logisticshealth.com or (608) 799 1071.

If you are interested in learning about the volunteering opportunities with Snowflake, contact Dan Ellefson at danellefson3@gmail.com or 632 0274 or Mike Thompson at mthompson8792@yahoo.com or (608) 788 0155.

Snowflake Ski Club member Tom Sharratt said you don’t have to have jumping experience to volunteer at Snowflake, and no special skills are required.

“It’s all about preserving the tradition of Nordic ski jumping in our community and the fun of working outside in the winter (and summer) months,” Sharratt said.

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Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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