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Ishpeming Ski Club awarded $55K grant

Work was being done at the Suicide Bowl in early December. (Photo courtesy of Gary Rasmussen)

ISHPEMING — The Great Lakes Sports Commission agreed to provide a $55,000 grant to the Ishpeming Ski Club recently to help them complete their iconic Suicide Bowl ski venue improvement project.

The proposed project is part of a five-year plan to improve and modernize the Suicide Bowl ski venue, developing it into a regional ski jumping and Nordic combined training facility that will attract local and international athletes.

“I’m happy to see improvements being made to the ISC facilities,” said Billy Demong, Olympic gold medalist and executive director of USA Nordic Skiing in a news release. “The ISC works very hard to foster and create a top-notch training program for Marquette’s youth and has been giving back to the area for well over 100 years.”

Updates in this portion of the project include a modern chalet with new changing rooms, a meeting room and ski waxing facilities, and a simple Quonset structure for storage and maintenance of ISC grooming equipment.

“Improvements to the ski venue will allow the ISC to host more ski jumping and cross-country skiing competitions, attract more skiers, and develop the training facility,” said Richard Ziegler, ISC president in the release.

For the past decade the ISC has been investing steadily in improvements to the Suicide Bowl including creating more teams and competitions, purchasing grooming equipment, improving current trails and jumps, creating new trails, and offering the only “summer hills” in Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin.

“The support of the Great Lakes Sports Commission and other local businesses is key to the continued success of the Ishpeming Ski Club and the Suicide Bowl,” said Rep. Sara Cambensy, (D-Marquette) from the 109th State House District. “I’m excited to help bring this project to the local community.”

Also helping with improvements is Hiawatha Log Homes of Wetmore, who will provide the necessary materials to construct the second level log walls of the chalet, and Holli Forest Products of Ishpeming, who has committed to providing transport of the log wall system components from Hiawatha Log Homes to the ski venue and providing equipment to assist with erecting the chalet second level and the Quonset structure.

Joe Esbrook, CEO of Hiawatha Log Homes said, “In our opinion, there is no organization that can leverage the degree of community support along with monetary and sweat equity and turn it into more value. What is of significant importance to us and what impresses us the most is that the club directs its efforts toward the youth in western Marquette County, and has been working to provide them with an opportunity to participate in healthy outdoor sporting activities.”

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