The annual Norge Ski Jump competition, now in its 106th year, means many things to community members and skiers from around the world.
For some, it’s a chance to qualify for the Junior Olympics or claim a title as Norge Ski Champion. For others, it’s a chance to party.
Billy Martenson of Woodstock has been coming to the competition for 40 years, since his Norwegian parents brought him for the first time as a toddler. This year, he arrived at 10 a.m. Sunday to tailgate with family and friends and brave the winter weather for hours of what he called a “winter party.”
Martenson said he never jumped but always comes to watch, taking pride in the sport’s Norwegian roots. Martenson knows there aren’t many places in the U.S. he could see the jumps.
“One of them happens to be right here in our backyard,” Martenson said.
At this weekend’s competition, more people than usual packed into the Norge Ski Club property in Fox River Grove to watch youth compete from the United States, Finland, Norway, Canada and Russia.
Charlie Sedivec, the club’s director of public relations and publicity, said there were more world class jumpers at this competition than any ever before.
“The talent of the skiers was incredible,” Sedivec said.
New Yorker Cooper Dodds broke the hill record Saturday by jumping 80 meters but only held it for one day. Kimmo Ylliriestro, from Finland, beat that record by one meter and won the A Class competition Sunday with 81 meters.
Luke Tschida, from Minnesota, shined the brightest on Saturday, finishing the day as a qualifier for the Junior Olympics. He and up to 20 other young athletes who competed at Norge will go on to the Connecticut event at the end of February. The Central Division hadn’t finished tabulating Sunday night.
The top jumpers for Saturday’s qualifying class were Canadian Dusty Korek, Norge’s Kevin Bickner and Norge’s A.J. Brown.
On Sunday, 13-year-old Tschida was one of two people to fall coming down the hill though neither was injured.
“There was a very big headwind, which is wind blowing up the hill,” Tschida said. “I’m so light, I was really affected.”
The fall came during Tschida’s trial run. He said he managed to beat the wind for his two competition jumps, finishing with a 58-meter best.
For the crowd, 150 meters lower than the ski hill, the wind was hardly felt, helping partyers like Martenson enjoy the event until the very last jump.
Other first-place finishers in their respective categories were Minnesota’s David Edlund for the Senior Class, Wisconsin’s Emily Anderson for J1 Women, and Norge’s own Kevin Bickner for J1 Men.
For a complete list of winners and finalists, visit norgeskiclub.com.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.