Volunteers help clean up Harris Hill Ski Jump

Tuesday September 25, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- February may be a perfect month for ski jumping, but it's not a great time for painting a fence.

That's why volunteers have been assembling at Harris Hill Ski Jump several times over the past month or so. They've undertaken painting, weed removal and other odd jobs in anticipation of several major ski events planned for this winter.

"It was in need of a lot of work, and it's all been done by volunteers," said Sandy Harris, a Harris Hill Ski Jump Inc. board member.

Harris' father, Fred Harris, built the Brattleboro landmark. The jump, which was finished in 1922 and looms over a Cedar Street field, underwent a multiyear renovation and reopened in 2009.

It now conforms to international ski-jumping standards and in February hosted the first International Ski Federation Cup tournament held in the United States. The second such event is coming to Harris Hill in February 2013.

"It went well -- well enough to do it again," Harris said.

The facility also will again host the U.S. Collegiate ski jump finals as well as the annual Pepsi Challenge and Fred Harris Memorial Tournament.

Planning those events is a big job, and so is maintaining a world-class ski jump. So members of the Harris Hill organizing committee got together in August to make some improvements on the steep hillside.

"We painted all the deflection boards up the hill on both sides," Harris said, pointing to red barriers extending the length of the jump.

A crew organized by the United Way did some work at the site earlier this month. And on Monday afternoon, volunteers from TD Bank applied bright yellow paint to a long fence at the base of the jump.

"We're very fortunate that we've had the community jump in here," Harris said. "It takes work all year round to get it ready."

Ownership of the jump recently was transferred from Brattleboro Outing Club to the non-profit Harris Hill Ski Jump Inc. The Windham Foundation owns much of the land surrounding the jump.

More information on the facility and its history is available at www.harrishillskijump.com.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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