NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WJMN) – The Ishpeming Ski Club was left with damage on the Norman Juhola Trail System and their 40-meter jump last week.
“I came out one day and I noticed that our picnic table had been torn apart and had no idea where the top went and then I discovered then a couple days later when we had some kids out here dry land training, one of our mothers brought someone over to look at the 40 meter hill and discovered the top of the table was there and had been used as a toboggan to slide down the plastic landing of the 40 meter jump,” said Head Ski Coach Gary Rasmussen.
In doing so, the jumps entire water sprinkling system which helps skiers move when there is no snow was destroyed.
“It’s criminal property damage and it’s senseless vandalism,” said Rasmussen. “It’s people out thinking, ‘Oh this is fun and harmless.’ But it really isn’t.”
Rasmussen says many people spent countless hours this weekend to repair those damages.
“We had a work bee Saturday morning that lasted most of the day with probably close to a dozen people out here working,” said Rasmussen. “And then other people… It really started last Thursday or Friday where some people would come in and do what they could do and they were off of work and right through Sunday, yesterday.”
This isn’t the first time there has been vandalism at the ski bowl.
“I know some of the parents that came out here were really upset,” said Rasmussen. “I’m somewhat upset but I grew up with this, we’ve had vandalism here over the years and I’ve grown to expect it. Since we put our fence up maybe a decade ago or two ago the vandalism was reduced greatly but this was one of the worst examples that I’ve seen in recent years.”
Law enforcement is aware of the issue. As a non-profit, money is now being raised for these unexpected costs, plus installing more security features.
“We will certainly invest a lot of money into security systems, trail cameras, sensor lights, maybe some fencing but we will definitely build up our security so if anybody does it again, they will indeed get caught,” said Rasmussen.
Because of the quick turnaround in repairs from the volunteers, training is all set to begin Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m.
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Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call Negaunee City Police at (906) 475-4154.