Ski Jumping 101
Learn About Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined
Ski Jumping is a sport in which skiers go down a takeoff ramp, jump, and attempt to land as far as possible down the hill below. In addition to the length of the jump, judges give points for style. Nordic Combined is a sport in which athletes compete in both Ski Jumping and Cross Country skiing. Learn more below.
Take your first leap in learning to fly.
Commonly Asked Questions
Ski Jumping is a sport in which skiers go down a takeoff ramp, jump, and attempt to land as far as possible down the hill below. In addition to the length of the jump, judges give points for style. The skis used for ski jumping are wide (4 inches) and almost one and a half times an athlete’s height, which is well above their hand when they reach up.
Learn more on our blog, What is Ski Jumping.
Nordic Combined athletes compete in Ski Jumping and Cross Country skiing. The competitions begin with Ski Jumping, which is carried out just like a normal Ski Jumping competition (see What is Ski Jumping? Info sheet). The Ski Jumping portion is then followed by a Cross Country race which uses a Gundersen start, where the best ski jumper starts the race first and then other competitors start staggered behind the leader based on their jumping result. This is determined by a point conversion system where points back from the leader are converted to start time back for the Cross-Country race. Athletes use the skating Cross-Country technique for all races.
Learn more on our blog, What is Nordic Combined?
Ski jumping is a safe, non-contact sport. Ski jumpers develop jumping skills at their own pace. Each jumper starts out on the smallest hill with alpine skis, and progresses to the next larger hill when ready. Each skier progresses at a pace that is right for them with safety as the primary objective and with the input of experienced coaches who understand the importance of foundational skills necessary to keep jumping safe.
Learn more on our blog, Is Ski Jumping a Safe Sport?
The sport of ski jumping, like any other activity, has its own terminology. For spectators, it is important to have a better understanding of the various stages a jumper goes through in an effort to attain the best possible results. As for the athletes, jumpers must meet traditional style standards as they try to fly.
The in-run is the position the jumper assumes as they ride down the ramp. Their aim is to streamline their body to reduce drag and maximize speed.
A good in-run is balanced and relaxed. The upper body is approximately parallel to the slope and the knees are forward to achieve good “shin angle” for a better takeoff. The face is the same angle as the shins and the balance is in the middle of the foot. Jumpers complete the in-run in about 3-4 seconds depending on the hill size.
During Takeoff, the jumper’s body changes position rapidly and lift is greatly enhanced as the skier’s surface area increases.
In a fraction of a second, the jumper tries to raise their center of gravity as high as possible without creating too much air resistance. The goal is to launch the body vertically and horizontally at the same time.
Timing is critical. If the jumper extends too late, the skis will point up upward; too early and the skis will point down.
The Flight: During the flight phase, the jumper’s body is ideally parallel to the skis to enhance lift. By spreading out their ski tips, jumpers are able to maximize lift by increasing their surface area, keeping them in the air longer. This is called the “V” position.
After flowing around the spread “V” form on the front of the jumper, air then flows over the neck, back and the rear of the legs. A jumper is typically in the air for about four to five seconds. Jumpers generally are no higher than 10-15 feet above the landing hill at any point in the jump. The jumper’s downward arc roughly parallels the fall of the slope and landing is usually soft because of the angle of the hill.
The Landing: The quality of a jump’s finish is a key factor for style points. In the Telemark position – a traditional form that earns the most points – the jumper places one foot in front of the other. The weight is evenly distributed on both feet with a slight bit more on the front foot.
Lift increases during landing in a phenomenon known as “ground effect,” where the wind patterns around the skier from a cushion of air between he/she and the ground. After landing, jumpers ski into the out-run area, where they must keep their skis parallel and cannot touch the snow with their hands or body.
Learn more on our blog, Four Phases of a Ski Jump
Ski jump sizes range from small bumps, like a 5-meter hill, all the way up to ski flying hills, where the hill size reaches 240 meters.
Each jumper starts out on the smallest hill with alpine skis, and progress to the next larger when ready. Each skier progresses at a pace that is right for them with safety as the primary objective and with the input of experienced coaches who understand the importance of foundational skills.
Ski jumping can be done year-round due to plastic surfaces allowing for near-identical conditions as the winter. Skiers use the same equipment and techniques that they do during the wintertime.
You can get started by finding a club near you!