The world’s largest artificial ski jump tower, Copper Peak, MI which closed almost 25-years ago, is back in action for an athletic competition far removed from its original purpose: adventure-seeking endurance athletes are set to run 400 meters up the 35-degree incline that ski jumpers would normally speed down.
For the first time since 1994, Copper Peak, the iconic ski flying hill in Ironwood, Michigan, will once again play host to another international competition on May 12, 2018. This time, however, the competition and format will look completely different from what gained the jump worldwide recognition.
The event is called the Red Bull 400. And while the distance sounds harmless enough (the 400-meter track world record is 43 secs), even most elite runners only manage to finish it in over four minutes. At Copper Peak, the fastest times are expected to hover around four and a half minutes. The almost 500-foot vertical gain over the 400-meter distance is guaranteed to put your calves, quads, and endurance to the ultimate test.
The race is the brainchild of former Olympic sprinter Andreas Berger, who was struck with the inspiration while driving past a ski jump in Austria back in 2011. He and his wife managed to make it to the top, and seven years later, his unassuming ascent is a mainstay in Red Bull’s roster of adventure races. In 2018, the season features 17 locations worldwide, each more breathtaking than the last.
For Copper Peak, the Red Bull 400 is the first event in a much greater revitalization of the historic jump. It’s the first athletic competition to take place there since 1994, and it’s happening in the midst of a multimillion-dollar project to have the jump FIS-approved for future skiing competitions.
If you can stomach the heart-stopping height of the original jumping platform, you’re in for an unparalleled 360-degree view of 40 miles.
“It’s going to be painful when you run up the jump, but you’ll be so happy once you reach the top,” Berger says. “It makes this race the perfect mixture of pain and happiness.”
Each Red Bull 400 location around the world seems to be more beautiful than the last, and you can find the one nearest you on the Red Bull website.