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ski jumping
in the
eastern u.s.a.


About Ski Jumping in the Eastern USA

Ski jumpers currently carry on the traditions of their sport in a dozen or more locations across New York and New England. Over the last thirty years, every U. S. Winter Olympic Team has included ski jumpers from the Eastern part of the country. Thousands of children have enjoyed the sport, some for a few years, others making it a lifetime activity.

Wilbert Rasmussen in 1952
Norwegian immigrants brought the sport of Ski Jumping to America over a century ago and this exciting sport quickly spread and grew in popularity in snow country from coast to coast. In New York and New England, jumping hills sprang up in virtually every town, large or small. In time, high schools, prep schools and colleges formed ski teams with jumping as the headline event. Over the ensuing generations, many of the old jumps have disappeared and their supporting ski clubs have either died with the jumps, or transferred interest to other activities. The NCAA dropped ski jumping as a title sport in the 1980's and only New Hampshire keeps ski jumping as an interscholastic sport. However, several New England prep schools vigorously support the sport with teams and jumping hills. Largely, ski jumping has returned to its roots as a club based activity with smaller numbers but no less enthusiasm.

Where to See Ski Jumping in the Eastern USA

If you have never watched ski jumping live, you don't know what you have been missing. Live viewing makes the sport much more spectacular than watching it on TV, and if it has been many years since you have come out, you won't believe the changes!

Jumping competitions are held each weekend through winter at a dozen or more locations ranging from the big Olympic jumps in Lake Placid, New York to ten and twenty meter jumps, sequestered in the New England hills, where nine year olds vie for blue ribbons or lollypops.

The competition schedule includes big hill meets in Lake Placid NY, Brattleboro VT, Laconia NH and Salisbury CT as well as jumping on smaller hills at all of these locations, plus New Hampshire towns: Lebanon, Hanover, Andover, Conway and Newport. In Maine, find jumping in the Rumford area. New England prep schools with ski jumping are Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT Holderness School in Plymouth, NH and Gould Academy in Bethel, ME

Plan to watch ski jumping at one of these sites this season!


How to Start Ski Jumping in the Eastern USA

I wish I had a dollar for every time that a spectator at a big ski jump has motioned up at the jump and asked me "How do you ever do that for the first time." Of course, the answer is that we don't do that for the first time. Yes, every different hill requires a first jump on that hill, but we don't take our first jumps on a big hill, we start small and work our way up in modest increments. Typically, a beginner starts on a ten meter hill which permits jumps of only thirty to forty feet. A child usually jumps for five or six years before attempting an Olympic size hill, and many skiers enjoy entire careers while jumping on hills of forty meters and down. At the other extreme, there have been excellent athletes who take up the sport as adults or in their late teens, and who get up the big hills in one or two seasons.

Anyone living in the Northeast U.S. and wishing to get involved in the exciting sport of ski jumping should contact one of the Eastern Ski Jumping Clubs.

If you don't live in snow country but would like to try ski jumping as part of your weekend activities, contact Casey Colby, coach at the Olympic Jumping complex in Lake Placid or call (518)-523-1900. (The answer you hear may include the mysterious word "NYSEF" which stands for New York State Ski Educational Foundation.)

If you live in the midwest, you can find ski jumping activity in Fox River Grove, Illinois, (outside of Chicago). In Wisconsin, in Madison, Westby, Eau Claire, Iola and Waupaca. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Coleraine, Minnesota have active jumping programs, as do Ishpeming and Iron Mt. in the upper peninsula of Michigan. You can find a list of midwest clubs with contacts and phone numbers at SkiJumpingusa.com, the web page of Central Division jumping.
In the west, you can find ski jumping in Winter Park and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at the Olympic complex just north of Park City, Utah, in Leavenworth, Washington and in Anchorage, Alaska.

The U.S. Ski Association web site offers a list of clubs, organized by state, and telling whether the clubs support ski jumping and other activities.

Nordic Combined Skiing

Question: Who uses the longest, widest, heaviest skis in the entire ski sport?
Answer: A ski jumper
(ski length 250 cm or more, width more than 4 inches, weight 6 to 10 pounds each)

Question: Who uses the narrowest, lightest skis in the entire ski sport?
Answer: A cross country skier
(ski length 170 to 200 cm, width less than two inches, weight less than two pounds each)

Question: Who uses both of these?
Answer: A Nordic Combined Skier!

Nordic Combined ski competition combines ski jumping with cross country ski racing (modern skate technique). The sport requires the boldness and coordination to fly through the air at 40 to 60 miles per hour and the skill and stamina to skate a hilly course of up to fifteen kilometers at speeds from 5 to 20 mph. The contrast between these two halves of Nordic Combined could not be more dramatic. It would be like competing in three meter springboard diving and then swimming a 5000 meter race.

Nordic Combined competition starts with the ski jump. Later in the day, or the next day, the skiers start the cross country race, handicapped according to their jumping scores, so that the first skier across the finish line is the winner. This kind of head to head racing is not common in special cross country races, where a staggered start is used, and the winner is not known until the last finisher crosses the line and all the times are corrected for the stagger.

Bill Demong jumping   Nordic Combined skiing has blossomed recently across the country, and the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has become one of the best in the world.
(Pictures: Three time Olympian Bill Demong of Vermontville NY, near Lake Placid.)
  Bill Demong racing

Next, learn a little about ski jumping hills.

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