Ski Jump

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Artemus

I walk
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Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,367
Here I retell the story of an event in which I partook in an Olympic year although I shan't divulge which Olympic year so long ago.

My inspiration was Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards who in the Olympics of 1988 was the sole British applicant to the ski jumping event. Eddie was so farsighted he had to wear glasses that fogged up during his run and he couldn't see. He placed dead last in all of his events and inspired the world and me.

The Utah Winter Games are events held annually in communities around the state and they hold one at the Olympic ski jumps here near Park City. My friend Randy and I goaded each other into jumping. They start you on slope-based jumps and you graduate to the built-up wooden jumps. These still are just training jumps for the big guys like Eddie and predated the real Olympic venue jumps that are still heavily used up here today. I chose to jump the way god intended - on my telemark skis with a free heel. Free the heel, free the mind! Randy cheated and participated on his alpine setup as did all the other "contestants". I still respected them, somewhat.

This is my report I wrote the day after my event.
============================

Dummm, dumm, Da dumm dumm dumm dumm, (the olympic theme as background music).

There I was last night, perched at the top of the 10 meter Olympic ski jump, skis sideways to the slope. My eyes gazing down the in-ramp at the row of pine boughs defining the edges, two parallel lines of tracks defining my inevitable line. Pine boughs every 3 meters. One. Two. Three. Four. Forty feet plus of precisely designed 39 degree slope (the angle of the black diamond runs at the resort). And then an edge and then nothing.......

It is night, pitch black with the only illumination the lights on the snow and far below, in the distance, a flag man with flags crossed preparing to signal me to proceed on my attempt to gain flight. He seems tiny and at least two hundred feet below me.

His arm drops and I jump into the fall line. Schussing. My eyes are crossed, I mean steeled, in determination concentrating on the minutiae. Legs bent, chest near knees, arms back against sides, head up, eyes focused on that edge where the earth ends and flight begins.

Thought ends and pure sensation begins as I explode into a giant leap off the edge of the earth and snap into that graceful, aerodynamic form of the flight of the jumper. The earth has dropped out from below me. The air rushes past, whistling. I can feel the lift. The flight. No longer bound by that familiar tug. Gravity no longer sucks.

I see that my flight is nearing the end, the earth is reclaiming me as I near the K point - the "Kritical" point (for you uninitiated that's German for "critical" point....). If I pass that point I will have flown past the design limits of the hill and will land unsafely on the flat risking disaster. Out of the corner of me eye I can see my coach chearing. And my buddy Randy who is still struggling to pass muster to get off the training hill.

I touch down and immediately split my legs into that graceful telemark landing valued so much by the judges. My right leg flies out to the side. The inside edge catches and WHAM! BAM!

S l i d e.........

A garage sale. Parts and pieces and articles of clothing all over the snow behind me as I biff, big time.

My next jump WILL be better.

Art "The Eagle" Lang
USA team
===========================

By the way, as far as I know they still hold this event every year and you too can attempt to match the Flight of the Eagle.
 
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Curt

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Feb 1, 2014
Messages
358
I've always wondered about this - what it'd be like to fly off the end of the ski jump into space.......... I'm not a skier and have had too many injuries to consider ever attempting it now. I don't know if you ever watched the "Wide World of Sports" on TV. They always had a segment on 'the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat' in the lead up. For the agony of defeat they had a guy falling down as he goes down a ski jump. You can see him desperately trying to stop from going over the end, but of course he can't. He flies off the end to land like a rag doll on the slope below to the words "the agony of defeat". Seeing that week after week never diminished the sense of horror watching that train wreck. I was always pretty sure that's what it would look like if I attempted it.

So, it was good to read this and live it vicariously. I felt the adrenaline rush reading your description.
 

Artemus

I walk
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Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,367
I certainly do remember that fall clip - they ran it for the opening for many of that network's sports events for years. I had it on my mind as I went to the event to jump. Thanks!
 

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