Our group enjoyed the food and spirits of Slovenia, Austria, Italy and Germany as we toured the marvelous jump complex at Planica, and watched training and comps in Villach, and Kranj, Slovenia. It was awesome to see our US athletes improve as they became accustomed to the high pressure, lower altitude jumps. In between jumping sessions there was a 100 kilometer bike path to cycle (we brought bikes on the plane)…..in just a short ride from our quarters in Slovenia we could ride into Italy or Austria.
I can not begin to describe the experience of viewing ski jumping in Europe, where the events are huge festivals with hundreds, even thousands of fans, music, food and local beers. It was exciting to see our athletes compete against the European’s on their home turf….the level of competition was exceptional. I had never experienced anything like it in our country and returned with a mission to carry this spirit with me back to Steamboat Springs.
The following summer we put on a Fourth of July Jump Festival in our Colorado Ski Town to rival the celebration in Villach, pictured above. We hired a fantastic alphorn band, served craft beers and watched some spectacular ski jumping. We hope to build on this event in the future and welcome all of you to come join us in celebrating the jumping sports on the4th of July in Steamboat Springs. I also challenge you to plan a vacation to Europe and attend a ski jumping or Nordic combined event to see our US athletes competing against their overseas rivals. If you do, you may see me there!
|The victory party with the development athletes and their enthusiastic fans in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia after the Grand Prix event at Villach.|