EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – One of the biggest winter sporting events in Eau Claire County is canceled. The Silver Mine Invitational draws thousands of people to the area for its skiing jumping competition.
Dan Mattoon who directs the Silver Mine Invitational says this large ski slope located at Silver Mine in the town of Union is no longer safe to use.
“We found out this year that the steel is structurally good and strong, but it’s the wood decking that’s on top of that steel that we’re having some issues with.”
Mattoon erred on the side of caution despite the disappointment the decision may bring.
“We have periodical inspections of our tower and in and around our ski jump to make sure it’s safe for not only athletes but the workers that are getting the hill prepared for the tournament.”
The event usually draws in up to five thousand people each day. Including up to 550 athletes from all over the country and the world. Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Benny Anderson says the area could lose a significant amount of money.
“It’s a couple hundred thousand dollars of impact, especially with hotel guests. We look to find different things to advertise for that weekend.”
That weekend Mattoon plans to hold a free smaller-scale event.
“We’re going to have a Washington event. It’s going to be a big ski-jumping event for us here in Eau Claire. That’s going to be on January 8th.”
Mattoon says getting Silver Mine back in commission is an investment as big as the slope.
“We’re estimating with the architect right now to do the repairs and make it a fix that will last for a hundred years, it’s going to require an investment of probably around two million dollars.”
“Hopefully the community will get behind us to help get it repaired. It’s going to be an effort to be able to do this. But I think we got it under our belt. We’ll get it done.”
And once it’s done, Mattoon says it will be bigger and better than ever.