81st Pine Mountain Ski Jump 'Continental Cup' begins

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - The 81st annual 'Continental Cup' ski jumping tournament kicked off Friday, in Iron Mountain and the skiers are flying.

A ski jumper lands (WLUC Photo)

"They just started and finally the guys are coming off the hill, so we are going to have an excellent round of jumping,” said the Iron Mountain Kiwanis Ski Club president, Nick Blagec.

Three official trial rounds were held, offering the skiers some vital practice time.

According to Blagec, the numbers from this practice round, can be used as scores in the next two days, if one of the competitions is cancelled due to weather.

But Friday offered up perfect weather-- sunny and slightly cold. Blagec says temperature doesn't affect the jumps.

"Temperature not a problem, no big deal with that, the wind, if it's coming up the hill at maybe 15 to 20 mph, then it's pretty iffy,” he said.

The fans still made it out.

"We've got a good crowd here for Friday afternoon, one of the biggest ones I've ever seen and it's still early,” said Blagec.

Some spectators, like the Early Childhood kids from the Dickinson Iron Intermediate School District attended for the first time

"It's just a great day for our kids to see the culture of skiing within our community,” said the DIISD Early Childhood director, Casey McCormick.

The Head-start and Great-start Readiness Program children got a glimpse at the gravity defying sport.

"It's really fun, as we're pulling in their seeing the jumpers practicing and they're excited,” said McCormick.

39 jumpers from 9 different countries are in town for the 81st Continental Cup, some new and other back for another year.

"We got some very good jumpers here this week, so everything really is lovely,” said Blagec.

Day two will begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time.

For more information visit http://www.kiwanisskiclub.com/.