Olympic ski jumper Eddie the Eagle to appear at carnival

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The 2018 Whitefish Winter Carnival button features an eagle on skis.

Whitefish Winter Carnival will host Olympian ski jumper Eddie the Eagle in February to serve as grand marshal of the Grand Parade and a few lucky folks will get the chance to go backcountry skiing with the celebrity.

Michael Edwards, known as Eddie the Eagle, is a British ski jumper who in 1988 became the first competitor since 1929 to represent Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.

Paul Johannsen, with Winter Carnival, said Edwards is expected to make several appearances in Whitefish that week. Carnival is Feb. 2-4, 2018.

“We have a full week planned with him,” Johannsen said.

Edwards is set to speak at Whitefish Schools on his message of never giving up, make appearances with the Carnival Royalty and organizers are hoping to screen the film based on his story.

The theme for Winter Carnival of Fly Like An Eagle is a nod toward the nickname given to Edwards, and also a celebration of 70 years of skiing on Big Mountain.

Despite finishing last in two Olympic events in the Winter Olympics in Calgary, the self-taught and self-funded ski jumper catapulted to fame as the loveable underdog for his perseverance. A film, “Eddie the Eagle,” released in early 2016 was inspired by his story.

Johannsen said the carnival committee selected the theme for the Carnival last spring and this fall was able to secure Edwards as its grand marshal.

Great Northern Powder Guides has donated a day of cat skiing with Edwards on Feb. 1, 2018. During the carnival’s annual Merry Maker event on Jan. 6, 2018 folks will get the chance to bid on nine spots to accompany Edwards for the ski adventure.

“We’re hoping to generate some excitement around this,” Johannsen said.

Tickets for the Merry Maker are $25 and are available at the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce and Whitefish Credit Union.

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