Ski jumping is a wintersport where competitors aim to make the longest jump on their skis. The skiers descend from a specially designed ramp before making the jump. This sporting event was first contested in Norway in the late 19th century, and later spread through Europe and North America in the early 20th century. The ski jumping venue, commonly referred to as a hill, consists of the jumping ramp (in-run), take-off table, and a landing hill. Each jump is evaluated according to the distance traveled and the style performed.

Ski Jumping Intro
Welcome to Ski Jumping

Ski jumping has been a part of the Winter Olympics since 1924. One year later, the event got accepted for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Women started competing in the sport in the 1990’s. However, the first women’s event at the Olympics happened in 2014. Keep in mind that this sporting event can also be held in the summer. The tracks are made from porcelain and the grass on the slope is covered with water-soaked plastic. All the competitions in this sport are organized by the International Ski Federation (FIS). For more information on the matter, check their official website.

History of Ski jumping

There is evidence of ski jumping dating back to the 18th century. However, the first official competitions happened in the 19th century in Norway. Records claim that the first jump happened in 1808. Olaf Rye, who was a Norwegian military officer jumped 9.5 meters in front of other soldiers. On the other hand, Sondre Norheim is considered to be the “father” of ski jumping. He won the first ever competition that gave out prices. It was held in Hoydalsmo back in 1866.

Ski Jumping History
Ski Jumping History

In the late 19th century Nordic skiers who immigrated to the USA, started developing the sport there. Nevertheless, this led to ski jumping becoming an event featured in the 1924 Winter Olympics. With time, the sport grew all around the world. In 1964 in Poland, this event was introduced at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. However, since then, the sporting event has been featured at every Winter Olympics and Ski Championships.

Rules & Techniques

Even though most wintersports are simple when it comes to rules, ski jumping is an exception. We mentioned the hill that’s used; however, we need to explain further. The competitor glides down the hill from a common point at the top of the in-run. While many believe that the hill is produced in a way that allows the competitor to jump, that’s actually not true. Before the skier reaches the end of the runway, he has to use his body to initiate the jump. While airborne, they maintain an aerodynamic position with their bodies and skis, that would allow them to maximize the length of the jump.

The landing slope in ski jumping is constructed in a way that allows the competitor to land safely. The landing space is followed by an out-run, a substantial flat or counter-inclined area that permits the skier to safely slow down. However, after the out-run, there is a fenced area where the people who are watching the competition are located. It’s important to note that the hills can be different, depending on the ski jumping tournament. Additionally, they are classified in a specific way.

ClassConstruction PointHill Size
Small Hillto 45 metersto 50 meters
Medium Hill45-74 meters50-84 meters
Normal Hill75-99 meters85-109 meters
Large Hill100-169 meters110-184 meters
Sky Flying Hillover 170 metersover 185 meters

Techniques

There are several different techniques that can be used for ski jumping. However, first we have to mention the parts of every jump. It consists of in-run, take-off, flight, and landing. For a long time, the technique called parallel skis was used. However, the introduction of the V-style technique allowed skiers to extend the distance of the take-off hill by about 10%. Swedish ski jumper Jan Boklöv in the mid-1980s was the one who invented this technique.

Techniques
Techniques

Additionally, the Kongsberger technique, the Däescher technique and the Windisch technique were also used in the past. As a matter of fact, up until the 1960’s ski jumping skiers were putting their hands in front of them once they jumped. Nevertheless, the Däescher technique was the one who changed that. Last but not least, we need to mention the landing. All competitors must use the Telemark landing style. This involves the landing with one foot in front of the other with knees slightly bent, mimicking the style of Telemark skiing. Additionally, there is one more thing you need to know about ski jumping.

However, winning an event is not just about the distance you reach. Skiers are awarded points for everything that happens during a jump. For instance, not landing with the Telemark landing style will result in a reduction of points.

Competitions

As we mentioned above, all major ski jumping competitions are organized by the FIS. The most important competitions are the Winter Olympic Games and the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. However, there are more tournaments organized by the federation. There is the Four Hills Tournament, the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix (held in summer), Continental Cup, FIS Cup, FIS Race, and Alpen Cup. Nevertheless, we have to mention that starting from 2009, women have also been part of the biggest competitions. However, their biggest inclusion has to be the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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