Lighting up Harris Hill is a dream come true – Bennington Banner
BRATTLEBORO — Allan Seymour always wanted to light up the Harris Hill Ski Jump.
“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for several years, but really there was no reason to do it,” said Sally Seymour, his wife, who serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors and a committee of about 16 members who help with the annual event.
This month, the Harris Hill Ski Jump is celebrating 100 years of hosting national events, international tournaments and US Olympic trials.
Allan, who serves on the committee, believes his vision all came together when organizers were able to put together a Friday night event. The group also has become aware in recent years of the difficulty of hosting the event in the afternoon, when temperatures warm up and the landing hill becomes much firmer to land on.
For the future, Allan anticipates more evening jumping will occur. He said “it was just time” to add lighting.
His specialty is anything involving wires.
“We’ve got an extensive radio communications thing going and now the lights,” he said.
Workers from Consolidated Communications install light poles on the landing for the Harris Hill Ski Jump on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, as they prepare the hill for an exhibition nighttime jump to celebrate the 100th year of the jump.
With the centennial event occurring this year, the group started making plans about 15 months ago.
“When we had to cancel the event last year,” Sally said, referring to a decision made in light of COVID-19, “it really enabled us to dive a little deeper into what we wanted to do for an event and what we wanted to do for special projects.”
When organizers first sat down, they wanted to come up with something to thank the community for all of its support over the last 100 years. One idea included holding a parade on the Friday night of the jump weekend and another was a reception at a downtown establishment.
The other was to hold an event at the ski jump with music and refreshments.
“Somebody said, ‘Well, if we’re going to have something at the jump, we gotta have jumping, then we have to have lighting if we’re going to do it,’” Sally recalled.
When Sally came home from the meeting and told Allan it appeared his dream would be coming true, he got to work. A firm from San Diego was hired to conduct a study of the area and create a plan for adequate lighting.
Allan said with software today, he can send dimensions and specific details to the firm, and it would get back to him about what layout would be needed, as well as what kind of lighting.
Spending some time in his studio, Allan built 15 light poles with three lights in each one. If not for LED lights, he said, there would have been “a horrific wiring problem because of the amount of electricity it would have taken.”
“All the lights that are on top of the hill are only 6 or 7 amps,” he said. “We would need 10 times that if we had conventional lights.”
A tricky part of the project had to do with figuring out how to light the landing hill. Allan worked closely with Todd Einig, director …….