November 26, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 278

Winter ski flying event canceled at Copper Peak

IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP - The scheduled ski flying event at Copper Peak for Feb. 28-March 2 is off.

Daily Globe file photo
Copper Peak is shown in the early 1970s.

All funds collected for the event will be returned to ticket holders.

Copper Peak must go through "extensive renovations" in preparation to become a USA Ski Jumping National Training Center, said Charlie Supercynski, president of the Copper Peak board of directors.

The hill will be modeled after European ski jumping hills that use a specialized plastic on the landing slope. The plastic acts as snow.

With the renovations, Copper Peak could host ski jumping from June to October, and throughout the winter, not just the snowy season, Supercynski said.

According to a press release, original plans to renovate the hill would have permitted the winter exhibition to take place, but the Federation of International Ski saw "greater potential" for Copper Peak and recommended renovating the hill for expanded usage.

Supercynski said FIS representatives visited the area Nov. 9-10 and presented the different option.

"The question became, 'What do we want?'" Supercynski said. "We could try to continue status as a ski flying hill, and operate under the KOP. With that, we would be afforded an event every three years."

Under FIS, there are many more opportunities available, according to Supercynski, including the option to host events in winter and summer.

"It really wasn't much of a decision," Supercynski said. "The opportunities are incredible, and that is our goal right now. We wanted to do something that could help our area in relation to economics, too. We draw a lot of people to Copper Peak in the summer, but with this, we can draw three times as many."

The goal now is to host an event in 2015 or 2016. Final decisions have not been made, but Supercynski said there will be "some sort of event, at some time."

Renovation of Copper Peak will reposition it as "a premier destination for prestigious competitions, such as the FIS Summer Grand Prix," an event that draws the world's top skiers, according to Copper Peak promoters.

"Copper Peak is on the verge of international prominence," Mike Holland, former ski flying world distance record-holder and USA Ski Jumping Chief of Club Support, said. "U.S. and world ski jumping communities are abuzz with excitement over the plans to modernize Copper Peak."

With the construction, it's estimated Copper Peak can expand its possible ski jumping usage from three days a year in the winter to as many as 50 days in the summer.

"What's about to happen at Copper Peak is just plain amazing," said Bryan Sanders, 1992 Winter Olympian and chief of competition for Copper Peak. "The Peak is reinventing itself 44 years after it opened and 20 years after it was last used. We will embark immediately with plans to modernize the facility for both winter and summer use, and both day and night use. Once complete, the Peak will attract elite athletes from around the world at both winter and summer competitions, possibly as early as 2015."

Copper Peak opened in March of 1970 and remains the largest ski flying facility on the North American continent. From 1970-1994, 10 ski flying competitions took place on the hill.