Ski Club Buys Hill for a Buck, Plans Upgrade
Who says you can’t get anything for a buck these days? Last we heard, McDonald’s still had a dollar menu. But if your tastes run toward rocketing off a ski jump instead of a gorging on one-buck McDoubles (cheese costs extra), the world still offers some bargains. Take, for instance, the deal the Eau Claire City Council approved Aug. 12. The city agreed to sell the 81.5-acre Silver Mine Ski Hill property to the Eau Claire Ski Club for $1. You read that right: just one dollar. What’s even more surprising than the sale price is the fact that the city even owned the ski-jumping hill, which is miles from the city limits in the town of Union. It’s a convoluted tale, but – long story short – the city bought the then-new facility from the club for a buck in 1967, then leased it back to the jumpers for the same price annually. Now club officials want to improve the ski hill and figure that they’ll be able to raise money more easily if they own the site themselves. The club hosts the Silver Mine Invitational tournament annually (and has done so for an astounding 127 years), and in recent years the event has grown into a full-blown winter festival, with pond hockey, music, food and drinks, and – naturally – high-flying ski jumping performances from world-class athletes. Admission to next year’s tournament (Jan. 16-17, 2015) will cost you more than a buck, but the winter fun is well worth it.