With snow on the ground, organizers expect a great turnout for Norge Ski Jump tournament
Ski jumpers from around the world, including an Olympian from last year's games, will converge in Fox River Grove this weekend to compete on the 70-meter Norge Ski Jump.
And the conditions look ripe for a successful run at the 114th annual International Winter Tournament, with predicted picture-perfect weather conditions, competing international jumpers and lots of buzz surrounding the event after three jumpers from the club competed in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last year.
"We're going to have a great crowd," said Norge Ski Jump Club board member Guy Larson, who is helping to organize the event, and whose son, Casey Larson, was one of the three Olympians from the club last year. "Last year because of the Olympics it was historic for the club, and that energy continues this year."
The heavy snowfall this past weekend means Norge is covered in snow. And the cold weather predicted for this week means it should stay for the events on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27.
"It's nice and white and looking good for this weekend," he said. "The spectators seem to really like when it feels like winter and there is snow on the ground. We can make snow, but when there is real snow and it's colder, they get really pumped up."
They also love the amazing jumpers, who will be wowing audiences for two full days, he said.
The event kicks off at noon Saturday with the junior jumpers on the smaller hills during the Junior Competition, followed by the Junior National Qualifier K70 on the big jump.
In the Junior National Qualifier, junior ski jumpers compete on the big hill for a spot to represent the central division for the championships at the ski jump in February.
"It's a very important competition for the younger kids who are trying to qualify," Larson said.
The competition on the big jump should start around 1:30 to 2 p.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, jumpers will be competing on the 70-member jump the entire time.
Sunday will feature the K70 U.S. Cup Five Hills Tournament, and the long-standing jump competition.
In the five-hill tournament, international ski jumping teams will compete head to head with U.S. Jumpers for the fourth of five competitions in the Midwest's Five Hills tournament. Larson said international skiers from Norway, Slovenia and Finland will be competing.
Olympian Mike Glasder, who competed in South Korea, also will be jumping both days, Larson said.
In addition to the international jumpers and Glasder, there will be jumpers from throughout the United States on hand for the competition.
The crowds, Larson said, are part of what make the two-day event so much fun.
"It's always just amazing, the crowd," Larson said. "The people who come here typically come back. They just really enjoy the atmosphere. It's such a unique sport. It's a great party and a great atmosphere.
"I've seen them come out in some really crummy conditions. But this weekend looks good."
Rick Barnvos of Huntley has brought his family for many years, and often meets up with other friends at the event too to make a day of it.
"It's a nice opportunity to get outside and experience jumpers flying though the air," Barnvos said. "It's just like being teleported to the Winter Olympics. You literally become part of the event and get wrapped up in it.
"It's also a great opportunity to fill your lungs with some crisp winter air while enjoying a few drinks with friends," Barnvos added.
Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to watch the competition.
The tournament runs from noon to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday at Norge Ski Club, 100 Ski Hill Road, in Fox River Grove.
The gates will open at 11 a.m.
There will be food and drinks available for purchase.
Admission is $10 in advance if you purchase a button at a local merchant in Cary, Crystal Lake, Barrington and more by Friday, Jan. 25.
You also can purchase an admission button in advance for $11 at www.Norgeskiclub.com.
You can purchase a button on the day of the event for $15 at the gate. Children age 12 and younger are free.
There is parking available at the ski hill, however, it can get crowded, Larson said. The club also is offering parking in the Metra lots at the Fox River Grove station and a free shuttle bus right to the event.