Ski jump event a family effort

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BRATTLEBORO — Todd Einig couldn't think of one fellow member of the Harris Hill Organizing Committee who didn't have another family member involved in some way in putting on the Harris Hill Ski Jump event.

"Family participation," he said, "definitely a lot of that happens in our committee."

Einig serves as chief of competition for the annual event, which takes place Saturday and Sunday. His wife, Kathryn Einig, is volunteer coordinator.

"It's pretty neat," Todd said, regarding how different committee members get their family members involved. "It kind of snowballs that way within families, so it's pretty cool."

For his part, Todd communicates with clubs throughout the country about which athletes might be interested in coming. He then organizes the competitors, training sessions and the contest.

Todd said he works with each of the other key organizers on the committee, including the logistics coordinator who handles housing, meals and other things.

"My role is kind of a general manager position," he said.

Todd has been doing the job for about six or seven years. He previously was assistant to his predecessor for about two years. He also is the director of the Harris Hill Nordic Club, a junior program for 5- to 12-year-old jumpers rebooted about three years ago, after more than 15 years of being inactive.

Kathryn and Todd married in 2007. Todd recalled her thinking about what she might do to help with the ski jump.

Kathryn recruits people who help out at the event. She has been doing it for at least five years. She said that each year, the event gets bigger and bigger.

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"What makes it fun," she said, "is many of the volunteers have been volunteering for longer than I've been recruiting for volunteers. It's true. So when I call them or email them, they write back and say, 'I'm in, I can't wait.' Or at the end of the event, they come up to me and shake my hand and say it was great."

Kathryn described the volunteers at the front gate and ticket sellers as "a family."

"They keep me coming back, honestly," she said.

Many volunteers are former jumpers or related to jumpers or have ties to the jump, said Kathryn, who loves ski jumping and has always admired the sport.

"I never thought in a million years I'd be married to a chief of competition, a coach, and I'd be volunteering for the ski jump," she said. "It's kind of one of those things that gets a deeper meaning each year."

On average, Kathryn estimated about 55 or more volunteers help put on the event. Their jobs include checking or selling tickets, directing parking and foot traffic, keeping the public out of certain spaces, and checking for proper identification in the beer tent.

Kathryn said one of the more fun jobs involves running information from the judges to the places it needs to go uphill and downhill.

"Why they don't radio it? I'm not sure," she said. "It's always been done this way."

She does not recruit for markers but will point people interested in the job to the point person, Dana Sprague. Markers stand along the hill by the outrun of the jump and help verify where jumpers land by putting their hand or a flag out.

"The markers are really important volunteers and they have long, cold shifts but that's Dana's department, but those are certainly invaluable volunteers," Kathryn said, adding, "It's a big community event for sure."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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