The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Copper Peak gala attracts support

 

October 14, 2019

P.J. Glisson/Daily Globe

THE CROWD settles in to enjoy dinner at the "Copper Peak Goes Gold" 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday at Powderhorn Mountain Resort's Caribou Lodge in Bessemer. The event included a silent auction and live music with attendees who support plans to revitalize the ski-flying hill in Ironwood.

By P.J. GLISSON

news@yourdailyglobe.com

Bessemer - A 50th anniversary celebration of Ironwood's Copper Peak ski-flying hill was well-received on Saturday evening, with about 125 people enjoying the event at Powderhorn Mountain Resort's Caribou Lodge in Bessemer.

Dubbed as "Copper Peak Goes Gold," the semiformal event began with a social, a pop-up shop and a silent auction, for which items were artfully displayed in the lobby and illuminated by glittering gold snowflake lights.

Afterward, participants sat for dinner where a ribbon-wrapped copy of the book, "Soaring with the Eagles: The Copper Peak Story" was at each table setting. The book's author, Charles Supersynski, of Wakefield, is president of the Copper Peak Board of Directors.

"We're just here to celebrate and have some fun," said Supersynski, who attended the event with his wife, Denese Daniels.

Supersynski has been involved with Copper Peak off-and-on since its first ski-flying event in 1970. He has been president of the Copper Peak board of directors since the late 1990s.

"I constructed a timing device for that first event," he said.

The expertise to create that device came from the Supersynski's 39-year career as a physics instructor at Gogebic Community College.

Supersynski said Copper Peak officials have spent more than $1 million in the past six or seven years toward the planned reconstruction of the Copper Peak facility. Raising funds toward the goal of applying a plastic surface on the jump has required a lot of work and time, but that will facilitate an exciting new dimension of summer skiing and training, he said.

"It's taking too long," said Jim Durkee, board vice president, "but we're forging forward, and we're still trying to get this off the ground. We haven't wavered in our goal."

Durkee estimates that getting the hill's jump to a summer-ready status could cost at least $15 million, followed by ongoing maintenance costs. Copper Peak officials expect that the majority of those funds will come from state-identified investors.

According to Durkee, the Copper Peak Adventure and Sports Complex received a letter of intent from the International Ski Jumping Federation last year, which issued a license to operate the jump as a summer surface through five competition seasons and beyond.

A related Copper Peak report states that the FIS directive will allow Copper Peak a Grand Prix Finale yearly, starting in 2021. This ski-jumping competition, which never has been held in the United States, is considered the upper tier of summer ski-jumping competition.

The FIS license would also include an annual Continental Cup competition, which is a winter event.

"The international part of it is going to be really, really big," said Judy Palmateer, who attended Saturday's event with her husband, Terry Kryshak, mayor pro tempore of the Bessemer City Council.

"We're big supporters of Copper Peak making it," said Kryshak, who was among attendees from many area towns. "This would be such a boost to the area."

Kryshak said ski jumping is "huge" in Europe, and he said fans and participants of the sport there would be expected to attend events here, thereby providing a significant boost to area tourism.

As the Copper Peak report noted, "Copper Peak will become a year-round destination for thousands of visitors, international athletes and travelers, creating a surging demand for hotels, restaurants, housing and new business to support this powerful economic engine."

Copper Peak featured the Red Bull 400 in spring 2018, with 500 participants climbing the steep incline and 5,000 spectators. The spring 2018 and 2019 events were the facility's first major ski-flying events since 1994.

Copper Peak won't officially be 50-years-old until 2020. Organizers decided to start the anniversary celebration now with the Saturday event.

 
 

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