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      Ski jumping tournament successful despite cancellation

      The Continental Cup ski jumping competitions in Iron Mountain may be the area's largest event of the year. The 75th annual tournament this year was successful on Friday and Saturday, but strong winds on Sunday proved a potential danger to the jumpers.

      â??The bad thing is when it comes from the sides or from the back,â?? said Austrian ski jumper, Manuel Poppinger. â??The bad thing for a ski jumper is to get some head wind and especially at the bottom of the outrun.â??

      Manuel said hazardous winds at the take-off of the jumps can lead to extremely dangerous crashes, so while many spectators were eager for action, it was better to cancel the day's jumps. But the cancellation didn't clear out those who came for some fun.

      â??We enjoy watching the ski jumps and the young guys come off the hill,â?? said spectator, Beaver Reddinger. â??Itâ??s a big, old tailgating party and people come out and have a good time.â??

      The Kiwanis Ski Club said they reported a record number of spectators on Saturday, anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 people, something they haven't seen in years. And with many people visiting and over 60 athletes and their coaches in Iron Mountain for the weekend, those in the hospitality industry say it's one of their busiest times.

      â??They come from all over; they draw from Green Bay, Milwaukee, the Northern U.P.,â?? said General Manager of EconoLodge in Iron Mountain, Paul Swanson. â??They come from all over; it's a very unique event.â??

      The EconoLodge hosts all of the ski jumpers and their coaches every year.

      â??Theyâ??ve been coming here for over six years now. They start coming in on Wednesday, and we're full right on through Sunday; they typically check out on Monday morning,â?? Swanson said.

      They said they were so full this weekend they had to keep sending people to other hotels for rooms. It was a weekend full of athletic talent, community camaraderie, and economic impact.