The most entertaining winter sports festival in America isn’t in Aspen or Park City — it’s in Fox River Grove. At the Norge Ski Club’s annual tournament, Olympic hopefuls soar off a 70-meter jump, while down below 8,000 to 10,000 spectators revel in the Chicago area’s wildest outdoor winter party. It’s equal parts U.S. Cup competition and Nordic-style bash. 

Norge is the oldest continuously operating ski club in the United States, founded in 1905 as a bucolic refuge for Norwegian immigrants to ski, drink, and huddle in quaint cottages. Most weekends, it’s a quiet place where daredevils can climb 200 stairs before launching themselves into the air. But the club is also a factory for Team USA’s ski jumpers (more than three-quarters of the last two U.S. Olympic teams were Norge alums), who compete in front of a raucous crowd armed with blow horns, cowbells, beer steins, and shot skis. (The 2023 event outdrew the World Cup event in Lake Placid.) While a standard ticket to this year’s competition (January 27 to 28) runs $25 ($20 if you buy in advance), $100 gets you an all-you-can-eat-and-drink VIP ticket fit for Nordic royalty, complete with access to a heated lodge and, yes, indoor restrooms.