The future of Copper Peak is about more than Copper Peak: it is an opportunity to support the sport of ski flying in the western hemisphere, an opportunity to showcase Michigan’s beautiful western Upper Peninsula, and an opportunity for growth and economic development for the Gogebic Range.
A Brief History
The Iconic Copper Peak Ski Flying tower has been keeping watch over 2500 square miles, 3 states and beautiful Lake Superior for more than 40 years and has hosted 10 ski flying events between 1970 and 1994. Not a bad history for this iconic landmark we believe the best is yet to come!
Envisioned as a world class ski jumping facility, Copper Peak had a relatively short run of ski flying events ending in 1994. Since that time the “Peak” has been in a holding pattern with the organization focused on keeping a positive financial position while doing the groundwork to get back to hosting World Class Ski Flying events. Although no jumps have been taken for many years, thousands of visitors every year take the chairlift up the landing and the elevator up the tower and walk the final 8 stories to take in the 26-story view. Others mountain bike on the single-track trails that wind through the surrounding hills and still more come to take pictures of the fall colors, enjoy the birds and wildlife or just relax.
What Do We Hope To Accomplish In The Next 2 Years?
Our mission is to re-establish Copper Peak as the western hemisphere’s biggest active ski jump and host Summer Grand Prix competitions that will showcase Northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a global outdoor recreation destination.
Our vision is to expand Michigan’s Upper Peninsula positioning as a world-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts; ignite interest in the region as a unique place to live, work and play; and to spur business investment in the region.
How Will We Get There?
Over the last 3 years the board has invested just under half a million dollars on activities directly focused on preparing the facility for the modern era of ski flying competitions. Investments have been made in preliminary engineering, Geo tech studies, structural review, master planning exercises and business case development. As a parallel activity, the board has engaged fundraising experts, philanthropic organizations, community members, regional tourism agencies and state legislators. They have also built relationships with the International Ski Federation (FIS), the United States Ski Association (USSA) and USA Nordic. The goal has been to develop a pathway to the successful re-introduction of international ski flying events at Copper Peak.
The good news is we have defined a clear pathway to the successful re-introduction of world class ski flying at Copper Peak and the regional economic development opportunities that are part and parcel of this this opportunity.
Key Requirements On Our Pathway To Success
Uniqueness and Exclusivity – Summer Ski Flying
The FIS has given Copper Peak the opportunity to operate a ski flying facility useable in the summer. Click here for more information.
A minimum of one World Class event per season at Copper Peak
Upon application, FIS will grant Copper Peak the right to the Finale of the Summer Grand Prix of Ski Jumping. The United States Ski and Snowboard Association has told us that they will apply for ongoing Summer Grand Prix ski jumping competitions as we are ready to host them. The Grand Prix series is the summer component of the World Cup with the world’s best ski jumpers participating. The Finale occurs in late September/early October at the height of the fall colors and at a time when there is excess lodging and tourism capacity in the region.
An Opportunity For Additional Events and Training
Copper Peaks is the only ski flying site in the world that has been authorized to offer scheduled training weeks – No other ski flying hills are permitted to offer training and are therefore only open for one 3 or 4-day competition period per season as a maximum. Because Copper Peak will be the smallest ski flying hill (although still huge) it is being considered as a ski flying “training hill” and will therefore be permitted to have specially organized training weeks in the summer to help athletes become familiar with the unique challenges of ski flying. There are also opportunities to host additional annual events including a Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix event, a Continental Cup event and in future possibly a women’s event.
Open Event Marketing and Broadcast Requirements
The Summer Grand Prix does not have a presenting sponsor or a title sponsor as is the case in the winter World Cup and therefore marketing opportunities are much more open and beneficial to the organizer (Copper Peak). Additionally, there is no branch exclusivity within product categories as is the case in the World Cup which again opens opportunities for the organizer. Finally, the television rights have not been sold to an international rights holder allowing the host to produce and distribute the broadcast signal as they choose and allowing them to benefit more fully from the media properties.
Where Are We Now?
A big step forward was receiving the “FIS approved profile” – construction drawing. This drawing gave Copper Peak the green light to move forward with the re-construction of the facility. With profile in hand we have developed the master plan, site plan, and artist’s renderings of the facility. The profile also defines our construction project and has allowed us to develop accurate construction budgets.
We are solidly engaged in the two critical and challenging next steps.
- Generate the 14-million-dollar capital budget through: Government grants, loans and bonds – estimated at 10 million, Individual and institutional philanthropy (Foundations – estimated at 1 million and Copper Peak Founders Circle – estimated at 2 million), and Crowd funding initiatives – estimated at 1 million.
- Initiate construction by Spring of 2018 to be ready for an event in the fall of 2019
We see this as a powerful opportunity to use our unique tourism assets to attract talent to our region, keep the home-grown talent in our high schools, colleges and universities and ultimately to spur business investment that the UP needs if we want to create a stronger economy. If you would like to join our team and be part of the project, you can start by joining our e-mail list to get information and updates on our progress.