GLSC grants $148K investment for Copper Peak

 Photo courtesy: Red Bull
Photo courtesy: Red Bull (WLUC)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 3:40 PM EDT
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IRONWOOD, Mich. (WLUC) - The Great Lakes Sports Commission (GLSC) approved a $148,820 investment for Copper Peak to fund upgrades to the tower scaffolding and infrastructure for its ski jump tower, which currently hosts its scenic Adventure Ride.

While ensuring the ongoing safety and enjoyment of visitors that experience the Adventure Ride, the funding will support improvements that will enable Copper Peak to continue to host popular events and future international sky flying competitions.

Soaring 90 stories above the rugged landscape of Gogebic County, Copper Peak is the largest scaffold ski jump in the world. Copper Peak’s Adventure Ride currently attracts over 12,000 visitors and generates more than $200,000 in revenue each year as a tourist destination.

“We appreciate the funding provided by the Great Lakes Sports Commission that will be dedicated to increase the safety and strength of Copper Peak’s infrastructure project,” said Brian Glodowski, Copper Peak Inc, Board President. “With its ever-growing ridership and followers, this project, funded largely by the GLSC, will ensure Copper Peak remains an increasingly important driver for economic stability through outdoor and recreational opportunities in Ironwood, Gogebic County, Michigan and beyond.”

The funding will support the improvement of the tower that includes structural repairs and chairlift upgrades including installation of racks to transport mountain bikes to the top of the hill via the chair lift. According to Copper Peak Inc, adding this capability to the lift, will enable Copper Peak to increase the attraction of Copper Peak as a thrilling trail cycling destination for that avid sector throughout the region and beyond.

“By attracting an ever-increasing number of tourists and those seeking outdoor sport and lifestyles, the proposed project to repair and upgrade Copper Peak’s structure aligns with the Commission’s goal to enhance the economy and quality of life in the region,” said Fritz Erickson, GLSC Chair. It promotes northern Michigan as a premier destination for outdoor recreation and sport through infrastructure development.”

Erickson added the Copper Peak project will bring nearly $2 million in revenue each year to the Western Upper Peninsula.

Copper Peak has recently been the venue for two wildly successful Red Bull 400 events, in which participants race on foot up the landing hill then climb to the very top of the takeoff area on the structure itself. This project will ensure that Copper Peak can continue to offer our spectacular venue for this extreme competition, remaining strong and safe for competitors and spectators during planned future events.

“This project supported largely by the Great Lakes Sports Commission will increase tourism and sports competition in the northern Michigan communities,” said Michigan Sen. Ed McBroom. “The entire legacy of Copper Peak lies in sports competition, and Copper Peak’s grand vision is to return international ski flying events to the region. If steps are taken to make that vision a reality, it would have far-reaching economic impacts, not only for the Western U.P. and our surrounding region but Michigan too.”

The Copper Peak property is available for public viewing 365 days/year via a county-maintained road. The Adventure Ride and chalet are open Memorial Day through mid-October each year, and the mountain bike trails are open late spring through fall, weather and trail conditions permitting.

“These improvements funded largely by the GLSC will be integral to the continued impact of Copper Peak has on the growth and stability of the Western Upper Peninsula as a tourism and recreation destination,” said Erickson.  “Completion of this project will allow Copper Peak to continue to safely generate adventure sports and tourism revenue for Ironwood, Gogebic County and the surrounding region, benefiting the local businesses and organizations that serve tourists, athletes and outdoor fun-seekers.”

“Copper Peak is pivotal to the continued growth of the region as a tourism and recreation destination,” added Erickson. “As one of Michigan’s most intriguing assets, vital improvements will enhance visitor & volunteer safety as well as visually demonstrate the Copper Peak and GLSC organization’s commitment to our area’s economic health and wellbeing.”

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