In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the small mining town of Ishpeming in Marquette County. With vast deposits of iron ore throughout the area, the town thrived and grew in the 19th century. Walking through the town you see evidence of that history everywhere. Ishpeming is also known as the birthplace of organized skiing.

Besides being a thriving mining town Ishpeming was also becoming a hot spot for snow skiing. In the 1870s and 80s the first ski-jumping tournaments in the U.S. were being held in there. Skiers seeking thrills started doing ski flying. This is different from ski jumping where the jumpers are usually no more than 10 feet above the ground. In ski flying they try for much greater heights.

Ishpeming Ski ClubNational Ski Hall of Fame - side

In 1887 The Ishpeming Ski Club was organized. It is one of the oldest continually active ski clubs in the United States. In 1905 the club organized the National Ski Association, today known as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

In 1944 the U.S. Ski Association suggested that the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame be built in Ishpeming. In 1953 the Ski Hall of Fame was built and remained in that building until 1992. In 1992 it was moved to its current location on Palms Avenue in Ishpeming. Besides the Hall of Fame, there is a museum, theater, library, gift shop and offices. The Museum has a collection of skiing material, both artifacts and archives. The Roland Palmedo Memorial Library has one of the largest research ski libraries in the United States.

Ishpeming: Historic Ski Center

Ishpeming - Historic Ski CenterIndustry and Invention (1875 – 1915) – Registered in 1957 and erected in 1957 – ID # S2

Located at 610 Palms on US-41, Ishpeming – Lat: 46.48822800/Long: -87.66626300

The sport of skiing was introduced to America in the nineteenth century by Scandinavian immigrants. The first ski club in Michigan and one of the first in the country was formed at Ishpeming in 1887. It held its first public ski meet on February 25, 1888. The longest jump was one of thirty-five feet. Since then this city has produced many famous ski jumpers who have gained their experience on renowned Suicide Hill. Here in this city the National Ski Association was formed on February 21, 1904. The National Ski Hall of Fame and Ski Museum is located here because of Ishpeming’s historic role in developing skiing in America.

Cool Ishpeming Fact

The Green Bay Packers played their first ever road game in Ishpeming on October 19, 1919. The Packers won 33-0.

Learn more about the rich history of the Western Upper Peninsula.