Olympic Briefing: Ski Jumping

Paying Attention: Stand at the top of a hill–man made. There are two choices of hill: Normal (i.e. steep and long) and Large(very steep and very long). Either one is capable of inducing a serious fright to even the bravest soul.  Next, strap on a pair of special Ski Jumping skis. They’re going to be about 260 to 275CM long (up to 9 feet in length) and relatively heavy.  You will click- in wearing special ski jumping boots;  the toe will be in in the ski binder, the heel will be free so you can lift it, except for a chord that runs to the board to maintain contact with the ski so that  the board won’t flex too much while you’re in the air.   You will also be wearing a spandex suit that offers low wind resistance and and less protection than a table napkin if you fall. You’ll need a helmet and a pair of goggles. Climb the hill to the jump start, ease out into the bench that spans the jump track  and put your skis into the two prepared tracks that run down the jump. Sit down. Then, when the horn sounds, stand up and slide down the ski jump, at increasingly high rates of speed as you get nearer to the end. You will be expected to “nail” the endpoint of the acceleration down the ski jump with perfect timing, by pushing up with your legs and lifting  off at the precise end of the run down the jump. Once in the air, lean forward at a very high angle, aiming your face as if you were going to plant it smoothly into the snow (it can happen), pull your arms back behind you,  hold your skis in a “v” and turn yourself into an airfoil. Fly up to 450ft plus/minus and then land, gently, in good and stylish telemark form. Repeat multiple times with good results to make it to the Olympics. You can read more background on ski jumping at this wiki or get a slightly different perspective on the sport by viewing this video. There’s a reason many people say that ski jumping is their favorite Winter Olympic sport…..to watch. Doing it…well, that’s a totally different commitment.

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