Our attention was grabbed this morning by news that the ski jump at Brattleboro, Vermont, New Hampshire has been restored to its former glory.
For decades, ski jumpers from around the world launched themselves off the ski jump at Brattleboro’s Harris Hill. The 90-meter wooden jump built by Fred Harris in 1922 was an extreme sports mecca before there was such a thing as extreme sports, but it was deemed unsafe in 2005.
Since then, the community has pitched in to regrade the hill, erect new steel towers and spectator steps and put up a new inrun for skiers to speed down before taking off.
As ski jumping is an extreme that we have rarely covered in the XtremeSport4u blog we thought it might interest our readers to learn a little more about this sport – as ever we are indebted to Wikipedia who have kindly provided some information.
Ski jumping originates from Norway when a soldier launched himself 9.5 metres in the air in front of an audience in 1809. By 1862, ski jumpers were tackling much larger jumps and travelling longer. The first proper competition was held in Trysil in 1862.
Today world ski jump competitions are held on one of three types of hill:
- Normal hill competitions
- for which the calculation line is found at approximately 80–100 metres (260–330 ft). Distances of up to and over 110 metres (360 ft) can be reached.
- Large hill competitions
- for which the calculation line is found at approximately 120–130 metres (390–430 ft). Distances of over 145 metres (480 ft) can be obtained on the larger hills. Both individual and team competitions are run on these hills.
- Ski-flying competitions
- for which the calculation line is found at 185 metres (610 ft). The Ski Flying World Record of 239 metres (780 ft) is held by Bjørn Einar Romøren, and was set in Planica, Slovenia in March 2005.
We can only hope that with the restoration of the ski jump at Brattleboro that U.S. ski jumpers will start to challenge for medals in a sport that has always seemed to be the preserve of Scandinavian and Central European athletes with the only exception to this group of countries being Japan.
The video below shows the highest air in history – 21 year old Simon Dumont broke Terje Haakonsen’s previous record of 9.90 meters (32 ft 6 inches) in Oslo 2007 with an awe-inspiring 10.5 meters or 35 feet, he even found that there was more than enough time for a 900 as well.
And if you ever wondered why this sport is so extreme take a look at Bjorn Einar Ramoren crashing in competition last year. Thankfully Bjorn was able to walk away from the incident but it does show that you have to be a certain kind of person to launch yourself into the air – good luck et bon courage to those Vermonters brave enough to let go!