Saturday, November 7, 2015

If you want to see some great Historical Jumping check out some from
RiPa Konamies

Most are on Facebook.

but his Feed has other ones as well.

Not sure how to imbed, but better just to go.
Love the Oberstorf 1976 piece.  but many more as well.
One of the nicest jumps and "replay sets" you can find.

250 Meters straight up for Peter Prevec - February 2015, Vikuersund Norway
"robbed on style points" but not fun.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ski Jumping - a difficult sport

I have had the opportunity to be on the hill and near to it for many years.  In my memory bank of athletics and in my view on the hill, I know the difficult spread that can go from near to doing.  It is a difficult gap to smoothly span.

When you see the path from first jumps, through exploration and improvement there is a fundamental of practice, striving and improvement.  The process can take years, and it can, at the same time have steps that show progress in short time spans.  The process of improving is also in learning to understand and keep the improvements you have made.

Ski Jumps in general are expanding scales of the same form.  (Starter "bunny" jumps break this just a bit).

Each jump has:

  • Start Gate
  • Inrun
  • Inrun Curve
  • Table
  • Takeoff
  • Knoll
  • Flight Plane
  • Transition Curve
  • Flats
Each of these areas are areas of skiing and to be skied well each needs a proper approach, as what happens there feeds into the next area, and the next area after that.

Done well, the process is internalized by the skier and the mental anticipation is absorbed and accepted and let to go.  Very much happens in a very short time and dwelling on specific details can make the process blocky and break the fluidity which ultimately is critical.

But the internalization also needs to keep control.  One needs to move into the air and actually go into a space which is "out there".  It is a remarkable space and unbelievably fun.  Getting there, however, requires commitment and something akin to bravery.  What it really is though is kinesthetic awareness of what works and an an willingness to look for what might work better. 

Being fully "on" game means taking all this and adding physical training, power, gymnastic control and the mind of an actor as the art must be performed on stage and performed with a smile.

I will expand on this this as we start opening these pages up again.  Video, Pictures, nice graphics are all needed.  But deep breath, relaxation and the will to go, those are among the touchstones you will want to know on every hill.

Have fun out there and stick those landings!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Internet Streaming: and Nordic Sport

USSA made a big move this year aquiring the broadcast rights to both World Alpine Championships and the World Nordic Champs.  They ran the production on the Alpine side at Vail-Beaver Creek and did a great job of it.  In Falun Sweden for the Nordic, they have simply broadcast everything directly via the web site and simul streamed at

The footage has been fantastic.  There needs to be commentation on some of the events, but even without it you can follow the events and really understand a heck of a lot about the sports.  Jumping is Fun.  Cross Country and Nordic Combined are fun.  (Commentation does help.  The Women's jump had a very good british commentator.  The Nordic Combined Team relay had, it seems, a Scottish commentator.

NITA ENGLUND just put a huge jump down to 94 Meters!!   Very cool.  (Back Ground on site commentator only.  They are cutting speed.) -- we will explain that one later.  Czech's are next.

Distracted,  I need to watch the comp.  Really addicting.

Friday, February 20, 2015 features USA Ski Jumping, including Iron Mountain Continental Cups this weekend

Check out todays comp in Iron Mountain live today at:

USA Ski Jumping can be followed on LiveStream at:

As USASJ is using a free account, you do need to login to LiveStream.  I have found that the easiest way is through Facebook.  Yeah, they won't mess with you, and if you like what you see you can share pretty easily too.

...or just search "USA Ski Jumping" and they will pop to the front.  Follow them to get notices of competitions.

I can see improved production methods in the future but looks like this will be from a nice angle in the Judges tower when the event gets underway.

Great thing about livestream is they generally archive events for at least a month.  Better still there is open chat that is associated with many events.  Fun way to check in with your friends far and wide.

2015 World Championships - Falun Sweden

Not sure we can imbed this, but there is some very good coverage being streamed, and sometimes commentated at:

Right now, women's 1st round has just ended.  At the bottom of the feed line choose "Womens Ski Jumping".  You can see other events that are playing.  Generally it seems there are feeds coming from different venues, and the various named events share those venus.

May have been a mistake, but one time I found the audio on one feed and the video on the other (basically the audio was in the background, seemed to be the British TV video for Nordic Combined racing).

Happening fast. also is streaming video.  Ads are  a bit loud.  I haven't figured out how to see any replays..  seems that like the feed this is Live only.  Does seem good quality and it may work on an android, which I have not been able to get to work with the USSkiTeam site.

There is also an IOS ap referenced off of the USSki Team site.

Check it out. Really great coverag, generally early mornings to morning (Sweden Evening) US times.

It seems you can "watch later" on Universal Sports.  Maybe also on the USST website.  I am not sure how long they will keep the feeds open, but you can quickly scroll to the end for instance to see the last 10 or 20 for example.

Mens Jump feed did not show the final result but you can see it here:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Winter Season is upon us

World Cup jumping has started this week in Germany rather than Finland as in the past.  The pictures I saw from Klingethal showed a jump surrounded by a sea of green.  All "man made" snow covering the jump and nothing else.  Thats generally OK, though with the new methods of summer jumping I question why he summer surfaces are not simply used sometimes in the winter.  It would sure take less work and less energy consumption.

These are photos from  Tveitenbaken, Norway, (shared via FB from Katinka Hulu Saksalainen -  Thank you both (Baken means Jump by the way in Norwegian) 
Snow production Tveitanbakken 13/14 (More Pics on the Link)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sarah Hendrickson makes US proud, WC 2013

Feb 22, 2103:  First Jump at Val de Fiemme (Femme) FIS World Championships for Sarah Hendrickson, USA  106 Meters, and fantastic style.

Second jump is just as good, in fact technically even better.  Perhaps there was a lower start.

I don't know that I recall anyone getting 3 x 19's  ( (19, 19, 19) from judges on 2 Jumps in a row.  That is simply fantastic skiing and jumping Ms. Hendrickson performed.    We are very proud of her and proud of our USA Womens Ski Jumping for putting together 2 Individual World Champions (Lindsey Van, 2009, in Liberec CZ ) in the first 3 World Championships for Women ever in Ski Jumping.

Now the FIS just needs to let them ski some bigger hills.  Jumping like this Sarah would stand with the best of the men it appears to me.

You go Girl!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hans Schmidt at Obersdorf (early 70's)

I would like to know the year of this, but I expect it is around 1972.

Hans Schmidt, Switzerland (SUI) at Oberstdorf Ski Flying 167 Meter

I used to wear the same hat and goggles, though I was only 11 years old.

Great to think that the Swiss were skiing so well then. Walter Steiner plus Hans Schmidt.

You can really see him loft the end of this flight (and backed out at the end).

He was 2 meter short of the World Record of the time, so the WR was 169 meters.

Flying is wonderful1

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Historical context in Ski Jumping (flying) and The Great Ecstasy wonderful film.

Werner Herzog's film about Walter Steiner (circa 1974-75) shows some remarkable aspects of the sport.

You can see the start of the film here with english subtitles (perhaps all of it) The Great Ecstasy of the Sculptor Steiner...

The full film in German can be seen at this Video..  looking for the Part 2 in English..  which I think would be interesting as this is a very poetic film as well as a very beautiful one.  The Slow Motion parts from flying in Planica are truly out of this world.

If you are (or were) a Ski Jumper like me it is fun to see the sport that you knew growing up, and also to notice how it has changed.  The equipment is the most different.  Ski Jumping Boots of the early 70's were not much more than basketball shoes.  Skis were narrow, bindings were prone to stretch and rebound.  Skiing into the track of the inrun required real turning, and tracks were often glaze ice.  On top of this, helmets were nearly non-existent.

My time ski flying was 8 to 10 years later than this.  Boots were taller, Helmets were on every skier.  Suits had transitioned in a few short years through Air Suits (that were subsequently outlawed) to full arm covering suits.  Skis got stronger and bindings a bit lighter and more consistent.

Another 30 years have past and the sport has changed more.  Cut tracks have become the standard in winter jumping -- an aspect that grew out of the great confidence and safety that was established with Frost Rail was introduced (followed by Porcelain Rail) for summer jumping.

The intro to the Great Ecstasy shows jumping on Plastic with plastic track.  The problem plastic had was that it tended to cause deceleration coming into the takeoff (rather than either acceleration or at least maintenance of developed speed).  The Plastic track shown also shows the reality that one could not turn into a plastic track the way one could or had to on snow.  By 1983, Sit Start were starting to be introduced, again first in the Summer, allowing a much greater control of speed and challenging the best skiers to get to the bottom of the hill with the minimum of takeoff speed.

The biggest visible difference is the "V" method of flying which aerodynamically has turned skiers into flying squirrels and allowed jumping to follow a flatter and safer flight line.

The 1973 Jump shown of Walter Steiner falling at 179 Meters is remarkable.  Walter stood at 172 or 174 meters in 1974.  Toni Innauer had one of the most beautiful jumps ever made in 1976 flying 176 meters  (clearly with the help of an air suit, but he was the consumate stylist).  This was the year that the East Germans moved inrun arms from the front to the hips and everyone followed suit within the next 12 months at most (perhaps the fastest technique change ever in a sport of "eras" and difficult transitions.)  1980 had skiers matching 176 meters and seeing 180, but it was not until 1983 that 180 was reached, then 1985 Matti Nykannen went 1984 meters (I have a nice photo of this jump in Oberstdorf).  The equipment was pretty much static from 1979 through the late 80's.

In the 1980's frost rail and porcelain track jumping was coming to summer skiing and this brought a tremendous level of control and focus skiers could put towards technique.  The takeoff clearly became the area of utmost focus. and the safety of a inset track also allowed more assertive and aggressive moves.  The result of improving technique is that the best skiers can fly to the bottom of the hill with less and less speed so the sport became safer and safer.  And then Jan Boklav of Sweden got really crazy and pushed his skis away from under him, to bringing them out beside him in the "Boklav" or "V" technique.

Bindings have also changed.  Between not knowing the V and not knowing the string corded bindings that replaced the Adidas binding.. and now there is a more logical Wire Track Heel lift coming into the scene (Simon Amman brought these forward at the Olympics in Vancouver 2010)...  The sport has very few crashes.  There are some incredible jumps coming out of the new hill in Vikersund Norway, but truly world wide.  Jumping has many fans and many devotees.  The Biggest CHANGE of ALL though is the inclusion of WOMEN!  Hip Hip Horay!  I will give it another 10 years but I'll bet we see open class jumping.  To my eye, women can be every bit as good as the men, and likely more so as they are brought into bigger hill and ski flying venues where technique out weights power on the takeoff.

With all this one can in fact, fly like a bird.  The current world record (for some reason recorded in a Trial Round) is 246.5 meters.  Once we get to 250 one might reasonably say in a 2 day, 4 jump competition that one flew a Kilometer this weekend!  Pretty remarkable.  And takeoff speeds are considerably less than 60 mph, and the good fliers are likely hitting stable glides at less than 70 miles per hour, and if I am doing the math right, with final flight lines of about 34 degrees.  What does this mean?  It really means that jumpers are indeed flying squirrels.  If the rules on suits were a little "looser" or, lets say "a lot" looser and one could use the inflating jump suits of 1975-1976 we might be talking 50 mile per hour glides..  which is a nice thought but "its not about the suit ---  its about the skier".  Fly far men and women.

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