Twelve skiers from four European nations and the world women's champion.
That's the sensational lineup for this year's annual ski jumping tournament weekend at 90-meter Silver Mine Hill as the Eau Claire Ski Club celebrates its 124th anniversary.
"This could be the most exciting year we've ever had," club official Dan Mattoon said. "It just can't get any better than this."
Due to the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, the action moves up a week this year - to Friday night, Jan. 22, and Saturday afternoon, Jan. 23.
The tournaments will kick off the Central Division's two-week, five-hill series, originated last year. The series is a part of the national Super Tour, which runs throughout the season.
"The lineup is similar to last year," said Mattoon, "and we're all looking forward to it."
The rest of the schedule includes:
n Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Ishpeming, Mich. (night).
n Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30-31, at Chicago Norge
n Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Minneapolis (night).
n Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5-6, at Westby.
Four foreigners and a coach from Norway, Finland, Poland and Russia will arrive in Eau Claire on Thursday, Jan. 21. Each club is putting up $5,000 to be a part of the series.
"Overall, staging the tournaments will cost our club $30,000," Mattoon said. "The leading athletes will divide up $5,000 at the end of the series."
The women's world champion is Lindsey Van, Park City, Utah. She won the title at the 2009 World Nordic championships held in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Van is a roomate of Eau Claire native Blair Tomten in Park City and is a veteran member of the U.S. Women's team that has ranked among the world leaders in recent years.
The names of the foreigners will not be available until the week of the tournament. Last year Krystian Dlugolopski of Poland at Petr Chaadaev of Russia were the winners.
Chaadaev set the hill record at 312 feet, or 95 meters. Dlugolopski was the winner of the five-hill series with Chaadaev second.
Also in the competition will be the top U.S. riders who are not involved in the Olympics.
Eau Claire again will be represented by Adam and Ben Loomis, Nick Mattoon and Emilee Anderson, with the possibilty of other young Flying Eagles moving up to the big hill.
Although the recent heavy snowfall helped put the Mount Washington junior complex into ski shape, more snow is needed at Silver Mine and a snow-making session was held last weekend.