Westby businesses prepare for population to double in size
92nd annual Westby Snowflake Ski Jump expected to draw 3,500 spectators
WESTBY, Wis. (WKBT) — It’s only a few days now until a few dozen brave souls take flight at the Westby Snowflake Ski Jump.
Volunteers have nearly everything ready to go at the hill for practice runs to begin Thursday.
Most of the skiers are expected to arrive in town Wednesday before a meet and greet with fans Thursday.
This is the 92nd annual Westby Snowflake Ski Jump.
“It’s kind of in your blood, it’s something we want to keep and carry on as a tradition. It’s just a fun place, fun guys, great for the community, the community supports us very well,” said Scott Yttri, a volunteer with the Snowflake Ski Club.
While volunteers are setting things up at the ski jump, businesses in town are preparing for a busy weekend as well.
Businesses down Main Street in Westby know the Snowflake Ski Jump brings in lots of new clientele, some from all over the world. And the small town is preparing for what is most likely its busiest weekend each year.
The town of Westby has about 2,200 people in it. This weekend, that is expected to more than double.
“We expect somewhere around 3,500 or so on Friday night and then about 3,000 or so on Saturday,” Yttri said.
But before any ski jumping starts, the weekend begins with a kick-off breakfast at Borgen’s Cafe.
“Friday morning, right away at 7 o’clock, as soon as we open up, there will be people waiting to get in and it will be like that probably for three or four hours in the morning,” said Blane Charles, owner of Borgen’s Cafe.
Charles said he has extra cooks, servers and supplies on hand this weekend to make sure he can keep up with the weekend long dinner rush.
“Typically winter is a slower time for us. So for winter time, this is a nice, kind of a shot in the arm for business,” Charles said.
Just up the road from Borgen’s is Nordic Lanes, where owner Gary Mowery is preparing with extra staff and food as well.
He’s also preparing to hear a lot more pins being knocked down.
“They love to bowl, those Norwegians and everybody. They’ll come in and they’ll bowl like crazy,” Mowery said laughing.
“I’m sure all the stores and restaurants see a good increase in sales this weekend. I know the hotels fill up, even with just getting them for the ski club, for the judges and stuff, it’s full,” said Trish Evenstad, executive director of the Westby Chamber of Commerce.
Both Charles and Mowery said the business is great, but the best part of the weekend is meeting new people and welcoming them to Westby.
“It’s great, everybody loves to see this come, it’s something big for Westby. One weekend a year we’re on the map,” Mowery said.
There are about 25 skiers expected to jump as of now, but I was told there will most likely be more signing up Friday and Saturday.
The skiers are from the U.S., Finland, Slovakia and Poland.