Friday, August 16, 2013

The Pine Mountain Ski Jumping tournament is February 8-10, 2013 in Iron Mountain MI. Ski jumpers from around the world will climb Giant Pine Mountain in order to be “King of the Hill”. This will be the 75th annual tournament. 
The Pine Mountain ski slide at one time was the highest artificial ski jump in the world. It was the culmination of constant interest of a small number of skiing enthusiasts, later augmented by a growing group of winter sport devotees in Iron Mountain and Kingsford.
In 1929, an artificial slide was built on Hemlock Street, facing Brown Street, on land donated by E.G. Kingsford. The slide was built by local riders.
Poor snow in 1930 dampened skiing enthusiasm, and nothing was done until 1933, when the original jumpers and a second group which had been riding Lightning Hill, combined, and, with funds contributed by local merchants and manufacturers, constructed the Devil’s Hill Slide, the first all-metal slide in the Upper Peninsula. Shortly after the new slide had been put in use, riders, with the support of the Kiwanis Club, formed the Kiwanis Ski Club on January 5, 1934. The Devil’s Hill Slide was dedicated January 21 of the same year before a crowd of 5,000 persons. Tournaments were held on Devil’s Hill annually for the next four years. This slide was near Crystal lake and was dismantled for scrap iron during World War II.

The development of Pine Mountain was undertaken by the Dickinson County Board of Park Trustees in 1937 at the request of various civic and governmental bodies. Some work had been done earlier by Ted Kingsford and Hold Eskil, then Breitung Township supervisor, but the job was unable to be completed, so the deed to the property was given to the park group with the understanding that the park trustees complete the construction.
The board submitted a W.P.A. project covering all necessary remaining work, calling for the construction of a steel scaffold, 156 feet high, and clearing and grading of the landing area. Work on the ski slide was completed late in 1938, and the first tournament was held early the following year, with the Kiwanis Ski Club as host, and the newly formed Iron Mountain-Kingsford Winter Sports Association, a non-profit organization, acting as sponsor.
At the first Pine Mountain Tournament, Bob Roecker, riding for the Duluth Ski Club, shattered the American jumping record held by Alf Engen, of Salt Lake City, with a leap of 257 feet for a new American record.

Pine Mountain Slide has been renovated several times. In 1948 the landing hill was dug out for longer jumps, and in 1977 a fire burned out the top of the slide. New starting gates were added and the slide made higher.Pine Mountain Slide is known throughout the world as one of the best jumping hills. The Kiwanis Ski Club hosts the best tournament in the United States. Year after year, they have the top foreign jumpers competing. All classes of records have been set on Pine Mountain, and the record of the U.S at 143.5 meters/470.8 feet is still held here.
Updates will be coming on special appearances and events in connection with the 75th annual event.