Springer Tournee returns for 18th year
The top ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes from across the United States will be in Park City next week as the 18th annual Springer Tournee returns to the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow.
Athletes of all ages will compete in contests building up to next weekend’s U.S. National Championships.
For U.S. Nordic combined athlete Bryan Fletcher, a 2014 Olympian, the Springer Tournee is a chance for him to get together with everyone of all levels of his sport in the U.S.
“Springer Tournee is always a really cool summer competition,” he said. “It’s a time when all the older athletes get to spend time with the younger athletes. For us to get to see the future of the sport and interact with them is important.”
As a Nordic combined athlete, Fletcher and his teammates will compete in the ski jumping competitions, but will also have a roller ski portion of their title contests held at Soldier Hollow on Saturday evening.
Fletcher said in order to win he will have to set himself apart in the jumping portion of the competition.
“On the Nordic combined side, I think we’re looking at a really tight competition,” he said. “It’s going to come down to the cross country and every person is capable of winning. The key for me is going to be in the jumping. If I can give myself a little bit of a head start, that’ll be a big factor in my performance.”
Summer training at Soldier Hollow is something Fletcher enjoys. He said the trail system is perfect for roller skis.
“Soldier Hollow is an awesome venue for training and racing,” he said. “It’s probably the most realistic terrain we have in Utah for what a World Cup track is like. We do time trials there all the time. We were out there probably 10 times last week.”
Though ski jumping in the summer is almost identical to jumping in the winter, Fletcher did say there are some differences — especially in the air.
“The temperature plays a big factor,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to be really hot, which makes it challenging because the air is thinner. You’re just going to have to trust that what you’re doing will work. It’ll certainly favor the guys who are flyers and a little lower in weight.”
Fletcher said he’s ready to get to work this week. He’ll be extra focused at this year’s Springer Tournee after claiming the 2014 and 2015 U.S. titles.
“It’s been a relatively slower start to the summer for us, but we’ve been ramping up training more and more,” he said. “This will be a really good test of where we’re at. I’m excited for it and I hope I can come away with the three-peat.”
For more information on the Springer Tournee, visit http://www.utaholympiclegacy.org.
U.S. National Championships Schedule
Thursday, July 28
8-11:30 a.m. — HS-68 competition
3-6 p.m. — HS-10 to -42 competitions
Friday, July 29
8-11:30 a.m. — HS-100 competition
Saturday, July 30
8 a.m. to noon — HS-134 U.S. championships
5-8 p.m. — Running and roller skiing championships (Soldier Hollow)
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