BRATTLEOBRO -- Held on the only 90-meter ski jumping hill in New England, the Harris Hill Ski Jumping Competition offers an opportunity to experience the Olympic sport of ski jumping up close in all its breathtaking, heart-stopping glory. Watch the jumpers launch from the take off and soar more than 300 feet at speeds of nearly 60 mph.
World-class ski jumpers will come from from Canada, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, and across the United States to participate. This year's event will not only feature the annual Pepsi Challenge and the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament, but will also feature the only US Stop on the International Ski Federation's FIS Cup and a stop on the United States American Ski Jumping U.S. Cup Tour. The event is a festive atmosphere for the whole family with food, music, beer tent and souvenirs.
The event is run entirely by a volunteer Organizing Committee and supported by hundreds of community volunteers on the two days of the event. Sponsorship and donations make this event possible.
Ski jumping begins on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the open class (gates open at 10 a.m.), followed by an opening ceremony at noon. Acclaimed jazz and blues singer Samirah Evans will sing the National Anthem for her fourth consecutive year. A native of New Orleans, Evans was one of the city's most popular jazz and blues vocalists until Hurricane Katrina caused her to seek a new home and move to Brattleboro with her husband in 2006. Evans first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for 14 consecutive years. She has shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas.
On Sunday, gates again open at 10 a.m., with the first jumpers taking to the hill at 11 a.m. At noon Kristina Meima will sing the national anthem. Born in Sweden and a resident of Brattleboro since the age of 7, Meima has been singing since she can remember. A year after arriving to Brattleboro, she began participating in musical theater at the New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro. This is her second year performing at the Ski Jump.
The Harris Hill Ski Jump is located on Cedar Street. For more information, visit harrishillskijump.com, look on Facebook or follow on Twitter @Harrishillskivt.