One of the Barrington area’s biggest treasures is hosting their major event of the year this weekend. If you’ve ever been curious about the Norge Ski Club’s giant ski jumps in Fox River Grove, this is a great chance to check it all out. The 106th annual Norge Ski Jump Tournament is happening both Saturday and Sunday and some of the best ski jumpers from around the world will be competing right here in our own back yard.
There will be over 50 ski jumpers here to compete for cash prizes this weekend, including international jumpers representing teams from Canada, Norway, Finland and Poland.
There were about 8,000 spectators who came out to last year’s event and Norge Ski Club President, Gene Brown, says they’re expecting big crowds this weekend as well. “It’s really amazing when you think about it to have a ski jump this far south, but we have a year-round training facility and a lot of locals are not even aware that it’s here.”
The Norge (pronounced NOR-gee) Ski Club was founded back in 1905 by a group of Norwegian immigrants in Chicago who loved ski jumping. They were looking for an ideal spot for a ski jump that was still accessible from Chicago and there was an old rail line that ran out here at the time that they used for transportation. The group settled on the current Norge location, which is the highest natural elevation point in McHenry County. They built a tower 150 high on the top of the hill and that’s how it all started. Norge, by the way, is the Norwegian word for Norway.
If you want to see what the ski club’s all about, Gene Brown says this is absolutely the weekend to do it. “Unless you’ve seen it in person, it’s really difficult to describe, but these jumpers are coming off the end of the jump at approximately 50 miles per hour and to watch these guys soar up to 230 feet in the air is pretty amazing.”
The opening ceremony will take place at noon on Saturday and the jumping will start at 12:30 Saturday on the smaller hills and last until about 4PM. There are a total of five hills at Norge, but “The Big Hill” is K-70 or 70 Meter Hill. All of the events on Sunday will take place on the Big Hill and they’ll run between 12 and 4PM.
They’ll be offering a great selection of food, warm drinks, hot cocoa and adult beverages during the tournament. Club President, Gene Brown says be sure to wear warm clothing, boots, mittens. You might want to bring a blanket or a lawn chair and, he says, “Be prepared to watch some of the best ski jumpers in the world compete in a wonderful, family, action packed event.”
If you want to come see what it’s all about, tickets to attend both days are $10 each if you purchase them in advance or $15 if you buy them at the door. The advance tickets are on sale now at select local merchants and you’ll find details about where you can purchase them on Norge’s website at NorgeSkiClub.com. If you have questions, you can reach the club by phone at 847-639-9718. Norge Ski Club is located right along the Fox River, 40 miles northwest of Chicago and about 3/4 of a mile north of Routes 14 & 22 at 100 Ski Hill Road in Fox River Grove.