Little Lake County parents are active, mobile and always seeking adventure! Sometimes we even traverse outside of our fair county to find family entertainment beyond our borders. Due to popular reader demand, we introduce “Little McHenry County,” a monthly column dedicated to finding fun with our neighbors to the west, written by McHenry County Moms in the know. Explore and enjoy!
Little McHenry County is supported by the Raue Center for the Arts.
Norge Ski Club and the International Winter Tournament Ski Jump Competition
Have you ever been a spectator at a ski jump competition? Even after growing up in the Chicagoland area, I had no idea that the oldest continuously open ski club in the United States is located here in our very own McHenry County. A 112-year-old piece of history is right at our fingertips in the Norge Ski Club, located in Fox River Grove.
Wintertime in the midwest passes much more quickly when we take advantage of the seasons with a variety of winter sports and activities. With a husband from Colorado, skiing has become an annual snow time tradition for our family. We have been pleased to discover that we don’t have to fly to the Rocky Mountains–or even drive to another state–to enjoy some good old-fashioned skiing fun or watch a high-energy ski jump competition.
The Norge Ski Club was started by a group of Norwegian men from Chicago in 1905. They built cottages on the Fox River Grove grounds to be able to stay and enjoy this fun activity. Huge crowds have traveled from all over the Chicagoland area throughout the last century to see the ski jumping tournaments taking place here. And the tradition has been ongoing since.
Kids are able to start ski jumping starting at age three, but one is never too old to learn. The Norge Ski Club offers training classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Beginners start at two-meter jumps and go up to 64 meters. An indoor practice ramp has a landing mat which helps develop jumping techniques. Other tools are also available to help teach junior jumpers.
The most popular and exciting tournament that the club holds is the International Winter Tournament, which will take place on February 11th and 12th, 2017. This is a fun-filled event where competitors can show off their skills to crowds of fans. Ski jumpers from around the world compete on the 70-meter hill.
Highlights of the weekend include a Junior Ski Jump competition where juniors will compete on the big hill for a spot to represent at the Central Division Championships in Chicago. There is also a U.S. Cup competition, where USA Ski Team Jumpers compete for points, cash, and national rankings to compete in the National Tour in Park City, Utah. Finally, a Five-Hills Tournament includes a competition amongst international Ski Jumping Teams and is the first of five competitions in the Midwest’s Five-Hills Tournament.
Gates on both Saturday and Sunday open at 11:00 am and the tournament runs from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission buttons are required. Prices are $10.00 if purchased in advance at several local merchants, $11.00 if bought online to be held at Will Call, or $15.00 at the gate. And exciting news for those of us who love a good family rate, children 12 and under are free! Enjoy a full concession stand offering brats, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, soda, beer, wine and/or even Jaegermeister to keep you warm and toasty. And don’t forget your blankets and chairs!
Free shuttle buses run from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for spectators on both Saturday and Sunday. Bus stops are located at the Metra Train Station in Fox River Grove and the Stonewall Shopping Center Parking Lot at the intersection of Route 14 and Route 22.
Since Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, we may as well get a bit of fresh air and have some winter fun. Come to enjoy this long-standing tradition and expose your kids to a new and exciting experience!
Little McHenry County is graciously supported by the Raue Center for Arts. The Raue Center for the Arts is McHenry County’s premiere theater destination, hosting unique events and performances which include theater, comedy, music and family productions in a charming and historic venue in downtown Crystal Lake. The Raue Center For The Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of all through the arts.
Support the Raue Center for the Arts by attending one of their upcoming events:
- Get Lit(erary), 2nd Thursday of the month
- WSR Comedy Night, 3rd Thursday of the month
- First Date, Weekend productions, January 20 – February 12
- Richard Marx, February 17
- The Irish House Party, February 24
- An Evening of Percussion, February 25
- Pink Droyd, March 4
- Any Other Name, Weekend productions March 17 0 April 2
See the full calendar of events on the Raue Website.
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