Wednesday, the Ishpeming Ski Club hosted the annual Ski Jumping Tournament at Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Negaunee. It was their 126th time - but my first ski jumping tournament.
I've only seen ski jumping on TV during the winter olympics and that in no way compares to seeing it in person. I watched these men and women fly hundreds for feet through the air like it was nothing. Despite all those years watching ski jumping on TV, I never really got a feel for how far and how high these athletes really go.
I was really excited to cover the ski tournament for the paper. I was curious both about the photographs I would take at the event and about the sport in general. From a photographic perspective, I wise the event had been held during the day, that way I could have had better lighting conditions to better capture pictures of the jumpers. It was the only thing about the tournament I didn't like - but that's just the photographer in me, always thinking about lighting and wanting more light.
From an spectator's perspective, I found the ski jumping tournament to be an amazing event. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people came out to stand in the freezing cold to cheer on these athletes, even the ones from other countries.
After I was done taking photos at the bottom of the hill, I climbed about half way up. The first time a skier flew by me when I was higher up the hill, I was a little startled by the noise of the skier swooshing by.
I definitely didn't expect them to be so loud as they flew through the air. Perhaps that doesn't make sense, when you really think about what they are doing, but it was so quiet at the bottom of the hill, I just didn't expect the noise.
Ski jumpers must be very brave. I would never be able to do it, but, then, I'm also extremely afraid of heights.
The tournament was a great experience that I would love to continue to attend as long as I'm in the area. I loved seeing how much fun people were having, especially some children who, after a skier landed, called out their guesses of how far the athlete had flown and cheered if they came close to the actual distance.
I've been told that going to the ski jumping tournament has become a family tradition for some. I got to see why it has.
Editor's note: Recent Northern Michigan University graduate and Mining Journal Ishpeming Bureau reporter Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.