Ishpeming Ski Club
The history of the Ishpeming Ski Club (ISC) began with the organization of the Norden Ski Club on January 24, 1887. The name of the club was changed to the Ishpeming Ski Club in January of 1901. The National Ski Association, organized in Ishpeming in February of 1905, was later renamed the U.S. Ski Association, and is currently the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Because of the pioneering spirit of the skiing community in this area, Ishpeming was made the host city for the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
The first ISC tournament was held on February 25, 1888 and a tournament has been held every year since; tournaments were held at various hills in the area until the construction of Suicide Hill on land owned by Cliffs Natural Resources. The first tournament at Suicide Hill was held on February 26, 1926. In 1972 Suicide Hill was renovated and enlarged. The upcoming tournament on January 22, 2019 will be the 132nd annual tournament, a history nearly unmatched in the world of sport. Even the famous Holmenkollen ski jumping tournament in Norway that started in 1892 missed several years during German occupation in World War II.
Ishpeming Ski Club skiers have won 20 national championships, the ISC has had 13 Olympic team members and 6 FIS World Championship team members. More than any other ski club, ISC has 13 inductees in the U. S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. The ISC has hosted many National Championships and international competitions, many world famous skiers have come to Ishpeming, including world champions. The ISC has always been credited with putting on quality competitions on one of the very best hills in the country.
In 2018 the club is eleven years into a refocusing of our mission. We always strive to put on a high quality annual ski jumping competition, but we also are directing efforts toward the youth in western Marquette county, and are working to provide them with an opportunity to participate in healthy outdoor sporting activities.
Suicide Bowl has five ski jumps including the beginner’s K13 hill, K25, K40, K60 and the famous K90 Suicide Hill. To provide year-round ski jumping opportunities for young skiers , the ISC installed plastic surfaces on our K40 mid-sized hill in October 2008; the K13 hill in the summer of 2009; and on the re-designed K25 hill in 2012.
Former ISC ski jumper Gary Rasmussen returned to coach youth and junior ski jumping in the Fall of 2016. Gary brings many years of experience on jumping skis and on the coaching stand to the ISC program. Under his careful guidance and direction the ISC Youth and Junior Ski Jumping Program is growing, his skiers are traveling to compete in tournaments throughout the midwest, and the ISC has a renewed presence in the Central Division of the USSA.
The ISC is also involved with teaching youth to cross country ski. The ISC Youth Cross Country Ski Program was reinstated in January 2013, allowing young skiers to meet at Suicide Bowl on Wednesday nights in winter and ski under the lights. In 2014 several of the existing cross country trails were reconditioned and renamed the Norman Juhola Trail System. During the summer of 2015 the ISC developed plans for, and instituted the ISC Nordic Ski Team, an opportunity for students from high school age to elementary school age, from Ishpeming, Negaunee, Westwood and Marquette to compete in ski jumping, cross country skiing, and/or Nordic combined. Cross country and Nordic combined youth and junior skiers are coached by Dick Ziegler, a former NCAA Division 1 skier.
In order to make it easy for families to take advantage of the Youth and Junior Programs, the ISC furnishes all ski jumping equipment (each young ski jumper requires roughly $1,500 worth of equipment!), provides access to cross country ski equipment as needed, maintains and grooms the ski hills and trails, and provides coaching, encouragement and support. All Youth and Junior Ski Programs are provided free of charge; the ISC relies heavily on community support to accomplish our mission.