Ski jumpers flock to UOP for Springer Tournee, U.S. nationals
The Springer Tournee started on Monday and will run through Saturday
Summertime might not seem like the perfect time to hold a major ski jumping event, but the end of July will mark the beginning of ski jumping season at Utah Olympic Park.
Youth and professional ski jumpers alike have set up shop at the Utah Olympic Park this week as the 22nd annual Jindro Mayer Springer Tournee kicked off on Monday. Ski jumpers will be training and competing all week long before capping things off with the U.S. Ski Jumping Championships on Friday and Saturday morning. Saturday’s event will also serve as the ski jumping portion of the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships.
Seventeen athletes from Park City Ski & Snowboard will be competing at the Springer Tournee while five alumni will be there with the national team. A total of 110 athletes, some coming from as far as Alaska, will be at this year’s Springer Tournee.
“It’s a really cool opportunity for (local ski jumpers) because they get to see their peers from around the nation,” said Adam Loomis, Park City Ski & Snowboard’s ski jumping and Nordic combined head coach. “Other kids that are going to come in and jump against them and the younger ones are going to be meeting them for the first time. The little bit older kids have probably been seeing some of the same faces for the last few years, and they’ll continue to progress together.”
The young athletes also had the opportunity to be coached by some of the best ski jumpers in the country. The national team athletes were each assigned a group of kids to coach and mentor them on the hill in the morning. The athletes also led their groups through a physical test in the afternoon.
“I think it’s a cool way for the older athletes to give back and kind of slide into that coaching role for a day,” Loomis said.
The national championships will also be important for the national team jumpers as they prepare for their season and for Olympic qualification for the Beijing Games in February.
Ski jumping national championships are held during the summer to make it easier for national team athletes to attend. Athletes are abroad during the season, so between that and the more unpredictable weather in mid-March – when nationals used to be held – it was decided that it would be better to host the event during the summer. Loomis says that jumping during the summer is pretty similar to jumping in the winter.
“To the athletes, there’s a slightly different feel on the in-run… but in terms of what it takes to go to the bottom of the hill, it’s the exact same thing,” he said. “Just a little bit hotter and drier.”
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The Wildcats have now lost four of their last six matches.