Excitement for local Olympian building at Middleton’s Blackhawk Ski Club

Blackhawk Ski Club is 75-year-old and run entirely by volunteers.
Published: Feb. 3, 2022 at 11:47 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 3, 2022 at 11:23 PM CST
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MIDDLETON, Wis. (WMTV) - A local ski jumping club is cheering on their Olympian while drawing inspiration from her hard work. The team at Blackhawk Ski Club in Middleton is full of excitement for 21-year-old Anna Hoffmann of Madison.

Hoffmann is currently in Bejing competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics for Team USA in the women’s ski jumping competition.

Blackhawk Ski Club is 75 years old and run entirely by volunteers. Twenty-two-year-old Coach Noah Pollard has been ski jumping at Blackhawk for 17 years, with many of his earliest memories on the hill alongside Anna.

“I actually got started because of Anna Hoffmann’s family. We were in preschool together. We did little posters, ‘all about me.’ I said I liked skiing and so her mom was like hey you guys should come try this,” said Pollard.

He’s thrilled to watch his long-time friend perform in Beijing. “It’ll be so great to see her on that stage. She’s worked really hard for it,” said Pollard.

While ski jumping is an older Olympic sport, making its first appearance at the games in 1924, it’s not incredibly popular in the U.S. But Pollard is seeing interest in this niche sport grow locally, with Blackhawk growing from 23 athletes in 2020 to 71 today.

“It’s awesome to see all the kids out here trying it out and I think there’s nothing like kids that get super excited about it, come out eager to jump. It’s great to see the sport I love start to build steam,” said Pollard.

Eleven-year-old Ulysses Gribb is in his fifth year of ski jump training at Blackhawk. Every winter, he sets his sights on bigger heights. “I want to move onto higher jumps and I also want to have better form in the air,” said Gribb.

Gribb and 12-year-old Samuel Manteuffel are both jumping on the 30-meter ramp, Blackhawk’s largest jump currently. There are hopes to rebuild the club’s 60-meter jump soon.

Manteuffel is in his first full winter of training and is already hooked. “The first time it’s very exhilarating, but you want to do it again and again and keep doing it. Now that I’m used to it, it’s not that scary,” said Manteuffel.

Both young athletes are looking forward to watching Hoffmann compete in front of the world. “It’s really, really cool to think that they started on the same exact hill that I’m jumping now,” said Gribb.

Hoffmann is actually the fourth Olympian to come from Blackhawk Ski Club. Kurt Stein represented the USA in 1992 and 1994. Before that, Dave Norby and Bill Bakke both competed in the 1968 games.

Hoffmann will start her competition Friday morning.

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