A snowy day out at the Silver Mine Ski Hill as volunteers began making snow to cover the hill for the upcoming Silver Mine Invitational.
As Eau Claire celebrates 130 years of ski jumping, Saturday, volunteers started a 50 to 60 hour process of making snow to cover the hill, which will use round 5-600 gallons of water.
“It takes a little volume of course,” Dan Mattoon said the Director of the Silver Mine Ski Tournament. “All we really need is cold temperatures, we don’t need Mother Nature to give us snow; actually man-made snow is the best for the safety of the athletes and performance of the hills.” Mattoon says the snow-making process has come a long way the last eight years as they used to rely on the Eau Claire City to bring in ice shavings from Hobbs Ice Rink, which would take about 115 truckloads to cover the hill.
Volunteers were also making devices to place on the hill to keep the new snow from melting. “What we’re making is an insulation device, to put on the end-run,” volunteer Arne Jorgensen said. “So in case of sun, the track won’t melt.” This year’s competition will be the first time it is licensed as an international ski federation event. The Eau Claire Ski Club obtained that license about two months ago. That license will help create international attention, bringing in competitors from all around the world.
“Cold, last year it was cold, but anyway, I like this hill and I’m looking forward to competing again,” Matic Benadak said a ski jumping competitor. Benadak was also a ski jumping coach for kids at Mt. Washington this past summer.
Mattoon adds if the weather stays relatively cold, the snow made this weekend will hold up for the big competition in February.
Organizers expect this year’s event to be the biggest one they’ve ever hosted. The Silver Mine Invitational is set for February 12th and 13th