Summer ski Jumping
16th August 2009 | Ben Clatworthy, Courchevel
Ski Jumping is something we tend to associate with the winter. Not so, as PlanetSKI reporter Ben Clatworthy has been finding out in Courchevel.
The 4 Nations Summer Ski Jumping World Cup takes place over one week in August in Italy, Germany, France and Switzerland.
It’s a hard tour for the competitors and with little rest in between the stages meaning the fitter person often comes out on top by the end.
Courchevel is the penultimate stage of the tour, bringing added competition as the jumpers try to acclaim a lead going into the final event.
But the big question is how can one ski jump in the summer when there is no snow?The jump, which in winter is covered in snow, has tracks built into it for the competitor’s skis to sit and run in.
These are constantly wetted and have water flowing in them. Just like for snow the skis are waxed, but with a very hard wax, similar to that one would apply to a ski for use on a dry ski slope.
The landing area is covered in special matting, again similar to that of a plastic ski slope.
For the competitors the landing is the same as on to snow, however stopping is very different. The matting runs out as the slope flattens off and is replaced by grass. Instead of making a giant snowplow like position the skier sits on the back of their skis as they approach the grass area.
This very quickly stops them, as you will know if you have ever skied on to mud or grass when skiing.
To keep the skis running the matting and grass are regularly sprayed with water and the finish area goes uphill to help the skier to slow.
It really is an amazing sight to see a skier flying through the air off a full sized ski jump with no snow to be found. The majority of the competitors jump full time during the winter on the world cup circuit.
This summer event is a great opportunity for them to get together and compete in some summer jumping.During the event Courchevel snatched the opportunity to open its new 25m ski jumping hill, which will be used as a great training venue for children in the local teams and clubs wishing to ski jump.
The two days really are quite an event with fantastic air displays, live music and fireworks bring the event to a wonderful climax.
For the competitors there is no time for fun; as soon as the competition in Courchevel finished I saw the Austrian team bus depart to drive through the night to Switzerland for the final day of competition.
To see who won and how the competition went see this related story.