|Tom Ricchio showing some classic style on a bluebird day in Coleraine, MN.|
Iola Winter Sports Club
My jumping career started I would have to say maybe somewhat differently than most. I was eight years old living in Racine, Wisconsin and had no idea of what ski jumping even was. I was literally dragged by my dad to join a friend of his along with his friend’s son on a downhill ski trip. That trip as it turned out was to Iron Mt., Michigan. Wouldn’t you know that it was the same weekend that the jumping tournament was going on at Pine Mt. I saw that hill and the jumpers flying off of that thing, and I was hooked. I went back to the downhill area to try and find some bump on the hill that I could try and jump off of. Before we left I remember telling my dad that someday I was going to jump off of that giant hill. I’m not sure what he said back then, but I doubt if he took me seriously. Well fast forwarding ten years and he and I were back in Iron Mt. This time I had my blue 8 foot Northlands with me, and I was there to take my first jumps off the first ski jump we had ever seen. I remember that first jump like it happened today. No track, some light snow falling, and for the first time in my skiing career I remember thinking that I was not completely sure I should be doing this. Doug Kopelke, Mike Probst and I headed up. Doug was first. He jumped there the year before and most can remember that famous photo of him with his tips against his chest going over the knoll. He was nuts, and Mike and I were much more concerned as I remember. All went well for the three of us as we ran up to take another ride. A month later I was on my way to the military, and nine months later my dad passed away. The last jump he saw of mine was on the first ski jump either of us had ever seen. I never jumped the hill after that, but it will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks for bringing up to Iron Mt.,dad.
Some more background from Tom-
I jumped for the Racine Ski Club from 1958 thru 1970 when I returned from the military. The club folded while I was away because of a liability law suit. I then joined Norge, and jumped for them until I purchased land in Iola, Wisconsin in the mid 90’s. I moved to Iola in 2003 and am still taking a few jumps at age 67. I spend a lot of time at the hill on projects, and coaching the local kids. Like most of us, ski jumping is a huge part of my life, and always will be.