The Picture Show: NPR

A ski jumper flies over the 60-meter ski jump at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 7, 2021. The Suicide Hill Ski Bowl is home to 5 ski jumps, including the infamous 90-meter Suicide Hill Ski Jump .

Nic Antaya


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Nic Antaya

Did you know there is ski jumping in Michigan?

After seeking to learn more about his home country, photographer Nic Antaya heard of a ski club in Ishpeming, Michigan that is training a new generation of ski jumpers. He decided to document it.

More than a century ago, local businessmen and ski enthusiasts took steps to organize the National Ski Association in Ishpeming, Michigan. As a result, the area is considered the birthplace of organized skiing in America and home to the United States Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Ishpeming Ski Club was born in 1887, originally called Norden Ski Club. It began its annual ski jumping tournament in 1888, with its last tournament of 2022 concluding the 135th annual tournament.

By the early 1900s, the annual tournament had over 100 competitors, with 1939 having 136 competitors at Suicide Hill. The Ishpeming Ski Club has produced many top athletes, 13 of whom are members of the Olympic team.

The Jacobson family arrives at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 5, 2021. Veronica Jacobson and her husband, Ty Jacobson, met through ski jumping and now have 7 of their 11 children who compete in the sport. They travel as a family to participate in various ski jumping tournaments.

Nic Antaya


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Nic Antaya

Without the former ski jumping alumni at Suicide Hill Ski Bowl, the club would not continue. Community members and coaches spend countless hours volunteering to maintain the club and train the youngsters.

“There is no sport more extreme than ours,” said club head coach Gary “Razz” Rasmussen.

Ski jumpers watch a competitor jump the 25-meter ski jump during the 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 6, 2021.

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The Ishpeming Ski Club has produced 13 Olympic team members, including those from the Bietila family. Paul Bietila, his portrait seen in the center left of the top row was recognized as the best American ski jumper of his time and the Paul Bietila Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the best ski jumper in the United States.

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Dick Ziegler, left, and Tom ‘Sodapop’ Sodergren help maintain the ski jumps with other members of the Ishpeming Ski Club.

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Cross-country skiers slide past the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl during an Ishpeming Ski Club practice in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 3, 2021. Many of those who ski jump also cross-country ski. Nordic combined, an Olympic winter sport, incorporates the two sports of ski jumping and cross-country skiing.

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Tim “Timo” Denisson, 72, of Cheyenne, Wyo., started ski jumping at age 2 and started competing at age 7. He has been active in ski jumping all his life, competing in ski jumping tournaments. worldwide. He was inducted into the St. Paul Ski Club Hall of Fame in 2012 and still ski jumps to this day.

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Isaac Larson, 13, jumps the 40-meter hill at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 4, 2021. Larson started ski jumping at the age of 8 alongside his two younger brothers, Max and Jacob.

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Dick Ziegler works on the ski jump at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl on March 4, 2021.

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Ishpeming Ski Club head coach Gary “Razz” Rasmussen began his ski jumping career at the age of 5, following in the footsteps of his father, Wilbert Rasmussen, a former ski jumper American Olympic. “There is no sport more extreme than ours,” Rasmussen said.

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Left: Kaija Copenhaver, 11, started ski jumping when she was 5 years old. “One day I want to go to the Olympics and be a ski jumper and a Nordic combined athlete,” Copenhaver said. Women’s ski jumping at the Olympics was first introduced in 2014; Right: Isaac Larson, 13, participation in the sport has allowed him to travel across the United States, including Alaska.

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A customer pays for groceries at Jim’s Jubilee Foods in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 3, 2021. The influences of the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl can be seen throughout the city of Ishpeming, such as in the grocery store, restaurants and murals on the underground passages.

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13-year-old Isaac Larson pauses after jumping the 40-meter hill at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan March 6, 2021. Larson hopes to one day compete in the Winter Olympics.

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From left, Oliver Jacobson, 16, of Stillwater, Minn., Gavin Mjolsness, 14, of Itasca, Minn., Jacob Fuller, 19, of McHenry, Illinois and Gabriel Jacobson, 14, of Stillwater, min. prepare to jump the 60-meter Hill during practice ahead of the 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament at Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 6, 2021.

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Judges watch ski jumpers jump the 60-meter ski jump during the 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament at Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 6, 2021. Jumpers are scored based on the distance they jump they jump as well as the style of their flight, along gates and wind clearing points.

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Cole Becker, 12, wins first place in his class for competing in the 134th Annual Ski Jumping Tournament at the Suicide Hill Ski Bowl in Ishpeming, Michigan on March 6, 2021.

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