FOX RIVER GROVE – The first Saturday in October, Fox River Grove’s Norge Ski Club will host the 2011 National Ski Jumping Championships.
It is only the second time time in the club’s 107-year history to be chosen for the honor. The last time was nearly 50 years ago, club members said.
Along with the thrill of watching recent Olympic gold medalists from the American Combined Team soar down Norge’s plastic hill and porcelain jumping track, spectators will see world-class athletes on roller skies whiz through 6.2 miles of village streets in a cross country competition.
“It is a particular honor for us to host one of the most prestigious events in the nation for ski jumping and Nordic combined,” said Gene Brown, Norge Ski Club Board
“When you are hosting the best athletes in the country, it is a pretty big deal, especially for a small,
volunteer, privately owned club,” Brown said. “We are all very proud and excited.”
The same weekend, Norge will be the base for USA Ski Jumping’s first 24-hour ski jumping distance challenge – 24 Hours of Flight.
The event is USA Ski Jumping’s first major fundraising effort, Brown said. Although members of the USA Ski Jumping Team work through the U.S. Ski Team for international events, USA Ski Jumping does not receive funding from the U.S. Ski Team.
Therefore, special ski event athletes, such as Mike Glasder, 22, of Cary, must seek sponsors or family support to train, travel and compete.
Similar to a walk- or bowl-athon, ski jumpers all over the world are encouraged to participate in the effort. Jumpers will round up pledges for every meter they jump between noon Oct. 1 and noon Oct. 2 with funds to benefit USA Ski Jumping.
Another landmark event taking place at Norge that weekend will be the appearance of the U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team. It will be one of the members’ first national competitions since the International Olympic Committee gave word that women could participate in the 2014 Olympic games.
“Often it is overlooked, but the U.S. women’s team has been fighting for years to be included as far as the Olympics has been concerned, and they have finally been granted permission, so it is a really big deal, and as a matter of fact, it is the first time that the women will be here at Norge as a team, as the U.S. Team,” Brown said.