Brattleboro's Harris Hill Ski Jump: An Olympian Effort
Southern Vermont Arts & Living Magazine Winter, 2010-11
The volunteer folks known as Friends of Harris Hill come together each year in order to make this wonderful event a reality. In fact, the event is organized entirely by dozens of volunteers and made possible by the donations and support of the community through sponsorships, in-kind donations and cash. There are also a number of behind-the-scenes responsibilities that often go unnoticed, but are all vitally important to the success of the event.
Photos courtesy of Friends of the Harris Hill Ski Jump
The all-important skier registration duties are coordinated by Co-Director Kate McGinn, who has been associated with the Harris Hill event for over three decades. “I became involved with the Harris Hill Ski Jump some 30 years ago,” McGinn said in a recent interview. “I started off by simply watching the jumps, then began helping out and acting as event secretary. After a couple of years functioning in this capacity, in 1986 organizer and former Olympic ski jumper Dana Zelanakas asked me to officially join the committee. At that same time, Pat Howell was recruited as a volunteer to help with sponsorship.”
Howell has also played a large role with the event over the years with both advertising and marketing and is now the President of the Board of Trustees. Howell said, “Now, my involvement with the event has been placed in the trusting hands of Kate (McGinn) and Betsy Farley, who have taken the competition to new heights.”
Some of the other vital event responsibilities include the organizing of official judging and score-keeping, arranging airport transportation and housing for the athletes, the preparation of the hill and jump including snow grooming, fencing and distance markers, and locating trailers for the jumpers, the press and media.
Let's also not forget the PA systems, securing official supervisors and announcers, creating scripts, organizing the opening ceremonies and the medal ceremonies and post-event banquet, as well as ticket sales, souvenirs, cash box duties, vendors, concessions, parking attendants, trash detail and post-event clean up.
“This event is listed as one of the top reasons to come to Brattleboro,” says Kate McGinn. This year the field of jumpers will be one of the largest ever with over 50 jumpers participating. The Harris Hill Ski Jump Competition includes the Pepsi Challenge on February 19 and The Fred Harris Memorial Tournament on February 20. Gates open at 11a each day. The popular Samirah Evans will sing the national anthen. The jump is located on Cedar Street in Brattleboro, For more information visit online at harrishillskijump.com.