Excitement soars as the battle for Norge Ski Club's "King of the Hill" approaches.
Beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday just north of routes 22 and 14 in Fox River Grove, the competition will host qualified ski jumpers from across the country to compete for the coveted crown.
Each competitor will jump the 72-meter plastic-covered slope until his or her distance record is broken.
"While there is no hill record because this is not a sanctioned meet," said Charlie Sedivec, the publicity chairman for Norge, "winners typically go over 200 feet, between 200 and 250."
Unlike sanctioned ski jumping competitions, the "King of the Hill" has no safety height restrictions to keep athletes from going too fast. Jumpers soar at their own risk.
The warm weather also makes "King of the Hill" unlike any winter ski jump competitions and poses different challenges for skiers. It is more difficult to keep the plastic on the hill thoroughly wet than it is to maintain snow consistency, according to Sedivec.
"If you come down on the plastic and hit a spot where the sun has been beating, it is like going through peanut butter," Sedivec said. "It really puts the brakes on. You have to have better balance than on snow."
The Norge Ski Club will be asking for $5 and $5 worth of nonperishable food items or $10 as admission. All of the food collected will be donated to a local food pantry.
"This is the second year we are asking for food," said Sedivec. "Someone mentioned the idea, and all members voted unanimously for it."
The Norge Ski Club is also bringing in the Old South Band to perform. Guests can enjoy a bonfire, concessions and live music beginning at 5 p.m.
While participants do not have to be members of the Norge Ski Club, all must be trained and qualified jumpers.
"There are no age requirements to participate," Sedivec said, "however most of our jumpers start training between 5 and 10 years old."
The "King of the Hill" competition is Norge's main summer event. Club members meet twice per month and have access to the jumping grounds year-round.
Last year's "King of the Hill" winner Kyle Kessler trained at Norge and has competed in ski jump competitions worldwide, including the Schuler Grand Prix in Europe and the Junior World Ski Championship in Stryn, Norway.
"The main goal of this event is to gives skiers practice and to give the community a pretty exciting event to watch," Sedivec said.
"A lot of people don't like cold weather, so they love coming out for a June tournament. It's a relaxing day watching these guys sail through the air."
If you go
What: "King of the Hill" extreme ski jumping competition
When: Saturday, June 12; gates open at 5 p.m. and jumping begins at 6 p.m.
Where: Norge Ski Club, 100 Ski Hill Road, Fox River Grove
How much? $5 cash, plus $5 worth of nonperishable goods; or $10
Details: Visit norgeskiclub.com or call (847) 639-9718.