The 96th annual Snowflake Ski Club Tournament brought people together Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1 and 2, to watch ski jumpers from Finland, Norway, Slovenia and the U.S. to compete in Timber Coulee.

The colors were presented on Saturday by Sierra Reiland, Jacob Black, Bryanne Burkwalt and Mitchell Swanson of the ROTC Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Area royalty represented each of their clubs by introducing themselves one by one at the opening ceremonies. The Snowflake Ski Club Royalty led the crowd in the “Ski Jumpers Song” and a prayer.

During the opening ceremonies there was recognition of all the volunteers that make the event possible and to those who serve or have served in the military.

“These guys are truly heroes and we definitely appreciate what you guys do,” Matt Keuler, master of ceremonies, said.

Augie Schini of La Crosse competed both days in the U20 Male Division. He had taken sixth, Friday, with 142.3 points. He aimed to improve the second day.

“I’m just trying to relax a little bit more than I did yesterday and following through a little bit better,” Schini said.

He finished third in the U20 Male Division, Saturday, with 146.7 points.

The jumpers did not disappoint, as spectators crowded around the landing. For some, it was their first ski jump, for others they have been regular attendees for many years.

A group of fans had traveled from Boston to the ski jump, they said, to party and enjoy the sport.

One group of friends from Moose Lake, Minnesota and Sturgeon Bay, had come to the ski jump together for the first time. John Stevenson, of the group, grew up in Viroqua.

“I went to tournaments on the Anderson Hill, and haven’t been to the new hill,” Stevenson said. “The new hill is wonderful.”

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Sahnje McGonigle can be reached at Sahnje.McGonigle@lee.net.

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Vernon County Broadcaster reporter

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