Throughout the Upper Peninsula’s history, Ski Jumping was a popular activity during the winter months. The skier jumps from a large scaffold, often traveling between 230 to 300 feet in the air. Judges score them based upon their form and overall distance. Multiple factors are taken into consideration for achieving maximum distance during the skier’s flight, such as the style of the skier’s bindings, boots, suit and skis. Ski Jumping started in 1808 in Norway and made its grand debut in the 1924 Olympic Games in Charmonix Mont-Blanc, France.
The Upper Peninsula has three ski jumps; Pine Mountain in Ironwood, Copper Peak in Iron Mountain and Suicide Hill in Ishpeming. Pine Mountain has received international recognition for being the largest artificial ski scaffold in North America. In the Archives’ James Goulette Papers, there are newspapers that highlight specific ski jumping events. On February 26th and 27th, 1949, Pine Mountain hosted “America’s greatest congregation of ski jumping talent since the 1932 Olympics at Lake Placid.” The expected attendance was 30,000 spectators with over 130 riders representing Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana, Vermont, New York, Finland, Norway and Canada. North American competitors were aiming for the first 300 foot flight in United States History. Local contestants such as Joe Perrault and Ralph Bietila of Ishpeming and Walter Bietila of Iron Mountain represented the Upper Peninsula by competing in the class A division. Ski Jumping is not as prevalent in the Upper Peninsula as it was 50 years ago. There are still competitions held yearly but not nearly as big as in the past.
Interested in learning more about the history of ski jumping in the Upper Peninsula, check out or Manuscript Findings Aids or contact the Archives staff.