21st annual Springer Tournee, featuring top ski jumpers, returns to Park City
When it comes to summertime in Park City, the weather typically sits in the 80s with the sun shining down.
While these conditions may sound pristine for most Parkites, it’s not ideal for ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes. But USA Nordic has found a way to keep the athletes mentally and physically strong for the upcoming winter season.
Returning to Park City next week is the 21st annual North American Jindro Mayer Springer Tournee, the premiere U.S. championship event of the summer for ski jumping and Nordic combined.
“It has become a week on the calendar that the country circles to attend every year,” said Blake Hughes, director of the U.S. women’s national team. “This is the mid point in the summer season and a great way to track (the athletes’) spring training as we move into international summer competition season in preparation for the winter.”
More than just a national championship for competing professional athletes, the event is a chance for young competitors to gain valuable mentorship and test their skills.
“The Springer Tournee is the premier event in North America because it is attended by all ages and teams from around the U.S. and Canada,” Hughes said. “… Park City is the only facility that has six hills with summer jumping surfaces. We will see kids jumping the K10 meter hill that are 6 years old to the national teams and Olympians jumping the large hills.”
The ski jumping portion of the tournament will include one event on each ski jump up to the HS-100, in which some of the top ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes in the country compete in. After each U14-and-up event, an overall winner for each age group will be crowned champion in both ski jumping and Nordic combined.
The HS100 competition, which will serve as the premiere event of the tournament, will also be a USA Nordic Cup event, bringing in the top jumpers from around North America.
As for the cross-country skiing portion of the Nordic combined contests, there will be a different format depending on the age group.
For the 12U, there will be a single ski jump and cross-country race to determine the winner, while the U14-20 age groups will take part in a roller skiing hill climb. Most of the Nordic combined events will be a Gundersen start format while the USA Nordic Championships event will be a mass start Hill Climb on Friday.
On Tuesday, there will be a testing period in which the younger athletes will be able to track their current progress in comparison with others around North America. The athletes will also be paired with a national team coach and athlete, giving them a chance to experience what it’s like to compete at the highest level.
“Each national team member will get a group of 6 to 8 boys or girls and coach them on their respective jump in the morning followed by a testing event that we use to track the athletes as they move up the pipeline,” Hughes said. “This will culminate with the youngest kids competing on Thursday evening and all of the national team athletes at the event supporting and cheering on the future generations.”
The Springer Tournee is named after Jindro Mayer, who was originally from the Czech Republic but became a coach in Canada. Mayer and his daughter died in a car accident in 2004 and the Springer Tournee serves as a way to honor his memory, as his character inspired people to do more and come together in sport.
For a schedule of events, go to usanordic.org/results/.
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