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Luis on Tour: Planica

on 2012-08-28

In the latest episode of our column "Luis on Tour" meets Slovenia's ski flying hero Robert Kranjec in the "valley of the hills" at Planica.

Luis on tour: A ski jumping hill fan on the road

By Ski Jumping Hill Archive author and photographer Luis Holuch

Because of a current reason, Ski Jumping Hill Achieve-author and photographer Luis Holuch talks about his visit of the ski jumping hills at Planica in Slovenia in this episode of “Luis on tour” and tells you about a special story, he experienced there. Now, have fun at reading! It would be a pleasure for us, if you will give us some feedback.

Letalnica (HS 215), Nordic Center (K120, K95), Srednija (K40, K30, K8) und Rateče (K70, K50) in Planica

Thursday, the 2nd of August 2012. It is 2 p.m., as we start our journey from our holiday apartment at Berchtesgaden-Rossfeld to Villach. From there, the route to Planica begins. As always, I put the information in the GPS system. My father is surprised, as he reads the necessary time of 30 minutes. “Well, we will be back for dinner. Nice!”, he says excited.

I am very happy; too, anyhow we visited Villacher Alpenarena only a few minutes ago, but also because the seating time in the car will not be long. Fortunately the Austrian Hitradio OE3 plays good music; otherwise I would have connected my iPhone to the audio system by an Aux-cable.

On our journey, we cross Wurzenpass (1100 m above sea level), which is the border between Austria and Slovenia. After a few minutes, we reached the border, where the costumes station, parking area and a shop are placed. After the border, I see an old tank. The road down to valley has the same boldness as up to Wurzenpass.

The wood lifts very soon and we see the first villages of Slovenia. If you drive in left direction at the end of this road, you will arrive at Kranjska Gora. But we did not reach the end already; at first we pass Podkoren, then we are back in the valley.

The traffic signs have the same colours as those at us in Germany; yellow background with black letters. The sign in right direction directs us to Tarvisio (I), Rateče and Planica. “Well, we didn’t really need the GPS”, my father says. He is absolutely right. After crossing the small and monotone village of Rateče, we drive then in left direction in Planica valley.

Nearly at the end of the road, we arrive at the ski jumping hill area. I pay the parking tax of 2 € and we park the car in the shadow. “So, what will we do now?”, my father asks. “I think that’s clear. We walk to the ski flying hill!”, I answer. My father has not see it until yet. But as he looks up, he is a bit shocked: “No, we won’t walk up there!”. I say.” The lift is out of order, so we have to walk up. If you don’t want to walk up with me together, I will go up alone.”, I say confident.

Then, he decides to come with me. I walk to the outrun and take the first pictures with the camera. It is very hot, 35 degrees Celsius, and no humidity. The slope is bold, as the most people tell it. That is not a great help… I jump over the banner and a stairs marathon starts from now on. My father is already some stairs above me. Between him and me are some Slovenian tourists.

I pass them, as they take a break at the new judges’ tower at nearly halfway of the slope. Then, I can not see my father until I reach the crest, where the motto exists: “If you don’t cross this point with enough highness, your jump will be finished in one second!”.

I run up the stairs, because I see the end of the stairs. As I arrive there, I ran up 600 stairs. Now, I walk in direction to my father at a small timber house, where he stands with some men and talks. The men, he is now talking to, wears a blue-red t-shirt. Next to him stands a men with a big camera in his hand, his colleague has a tripod in his hand. The fourth guy is the smallest one with short hair, a white t-shirt and a gaudy short.

Now, I understand the content of the talk in English language: “We already have been at Villach and Bischofshofen. And also at Ramsau (am Dachstein), where the Nordic combined hill is”, my father says. The guy with the red-blue t-shirt answers something, but I do not understand it. But the talk is about ski jumping. And that fact makes me curious.

Then, my dad sees me, talks a little bit and wigwags and shouts in German language: “Look, who is here!”. I did not recognize the three guys beside dad, so the fourth one at the handrail has to be the important one. This guy turns around and looks at me.

And he is the important person in ski jumping: Robert Kranjec!

The ski flying world champion of 2012 at Vikersund (NOR). He is nearly a head smaller than me, by the same weight and heavy calves. Now, a small talk (in English language) starts:

-“Hi, Robert! I’m Luis and I belong to Michael (that is my dad).”, I say.
-“Hi, nice to meet you”, he answers.
-“And who are you, guys? Am I allowed to ask you about your profession?”, I ask the three other guys.
-“I am a member of RedBull Slovenie and the two beside me are a private TV-team. We make a shoot together with Robert.”, answers the guy in the red-blue t-shirt, and turns around. On his back is the RedBull logo.
-“Is there a special reason for, or why are you doing this video?”, my father asks.
-“Yeah, but actually that’s an insider information for people who are not from Slovenia. We (RedBull) organize a run here on the Letalnica.”, the RedBull guy answers.
-“Ahh, like at Bad Mitterndorf”, I say. He does not understand, so I add: “At Kulm.”
-“In the same way, yes.”, he answers with a smile.
-“And what is your role, Robert?”, my dad and I ask him.
-“I participate, you know.”, he says bashful.
-“No, you are the star and you will win easily!”, the RedBull guy answers harsh.
-“Well, I’m not sure…”, Robert says in the modest way, you can imagine.
-“You are the fittest guy, who will participate, so you will win of course!”, my father says.
-“Well, that’s true. There is only one guy, who will win. And that’s YOU!”, I add.

Robert only nicks and we change the topic and talk about my “profession” on this website. The others seem to know, that we mean this one. Then, the TV-team likes to work now. Fortunately, the RedBull guy took a picture (look in gallery) of me and Robert!

I can not say how lucky I was in this situation and on that day! You do not meet the ski flying world champion and the best ski flying athlete of nowadays every day!

On the place, we stand; we can see the new building of Nordic Center. We only see that the main parts of the hills are finished, like the fundament for inrun and plastic mattings. This is only one construction, like at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

In contrast to that, the inrun tower of Letalnica is not an architectural art. The red-metal tower might have been a technical miracle in 1969, today, an amateur can manufacture that. It will be interesting to take a look on the future of that ski flying hill. The only clear fact is that the officials at Planica would like to take back the World Record to Planica. The length of the jump shall be – of course – 250m or more.

The tower is open, so we climb up the stairs. They are less many, as I thought actually. But we arrive at the 1st gate of the tower. There are some more stairs to the top. On every stair a yellow gate number sign is stick and matting is lay down. In front of the warming-up room, the slope machine is manifested. And the view is crazy and staggering. Janne Ahonen said once upon a time:” You really should not watch the others at their jumps. You will be afraid!”. And I completely agree with that.

From here, you see only small parts of the hill (slope), the crest and behind that, the outrun and the streets, which are cross-country slopes in winter. In contrast to the old Bloudkova Velikanka, you do not have to be afraid of dilapidation. Everything looks well-groomed. And the warming-up room, too. On all walls, there are posters with the winners of all competitions which took place in Planica. Defiant of the well-groomed look, the hill is very simple and sparse.

In my opinion it is very sad, that the Slovenians had to demolish Bloudkova Velikanka. They could have saved it. Of course, one has to ask the question, if the officials focused too much on Letalnica. Anyway, the hills of the Nordic Center will get a new style and a different length (K120 and K95).

The old K90, called Srednija, still exists, but is different to climb up, caused by no way up and high grass on the slope. So we did not go up. In the outrun of the two last hills, the athletes’ village is placed. This is well-groomed as well as nearly everything of Letalnica.

So, that was it about Planica-area. Of course, the main thing, I remembered was the meeting with Robert Kranjec and the beautiful ski flying hill. I would really like to drive a second time to Planica. The best date will be after 2017, when the whole buildings are finished – to have the comparison.

Everyone, who is interested in ski jumping and who can afford, should drive to Planica, too! You will be more than satisfied!! So here is the link for Letalnica-run on the Slovenian RedBull-website:!

Thank you for reading and see you soon!

Your Luis Holuch

Ski Jumps:

SLO Planica (Letalnica)
SLO Planica (Nordic Center)
SLO Rateče (K70, K50)


Nordijski center Planica: Fotogalerija



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8)   Simon   wrote on 2012-09-22 at 12:50:

Kann mich nur anschließen

Wie immer ein super Bericht.

Ich war auch vor einigen Jahren (bestimmt 7 Jahre her) schonmal in Planica. Abgesehen von dem Treffen mit Robi war es bei mir ähnlich. Einerseits überwältigend auf der (damals) größten Schanze der Welt zustehen, aber auch schockierend die anderen verfallenen Schanzen zu sehen.

Ich konnte mich damals sogar auf den Balken auf der Letalnica setzen. Da haben ganz schön die Knie gezitetrt :D Da merkt man erstmal, was Skifliegen wirklich bedeutet...

7)   Freddi   wrote on 2012-09-03 at 16:01:

Ich kann mich da den anderen nur anschließen: Wie immer ist es wieder ein super Bericht!
Ich wünschte, ich wäre auch mal nach Planica gefahren. So alte Schanzen zu "entdecken" hat bestimmt was. Leider ist es jetzt zu spät dafür, aber die neuen Schanzen in Planica werden bestimmt auch klasse!Und dann komm ich da halt mal hin ;)

6)   Markus   wrote on 2012-09-02 at 09:24:

Geiler Bericht

kann nur sagen, einfach ein geiler Bericht !!
Nach Planica will ich auch mal...

5)   Seb   wrote on 2012-08-30 at 11:15:

Guter Journalist mit Glück

Wirklich klasse geschrieben Louis! Ich bin auch in deinem Alter und schreibe auch gerne, aber so gut habe ich das noch nicht hinbekommen. Du berichtest sehr authentisch. Das mach und mag ich auch :)
Und du hattest echt Glück, Robert Kranjec zu treffen. So ein persönliches Gespräch muss echt klasse sein.

4)   Jenny   wrote on 2012-08-30 at 01:36:

Zufälle gibt's, die gibt's garnicht!

Ich kann ganz gut nachvollziehen wie es dir ergangen sein muss, ein ähnliches Erlebnis habe ich einmal an einer finnischen Schanze erlebt!
Danke für den gut geschriebenen Bericht und ich kann dir nur empfehlen, mal im Winter und am allerbesten während eines Wettkampfes nach Planica zurückzukehren! Dann fallen die Schlaglöcher in der Strasse auch garnicht mehr so auf ;-)
Es gibt übrigens auch einen stufenlosen Fußweg die Flugschanze hinauf, dauert wahrscheinlich etwas länger aber man kann sich die Stufen sparen!

3)   Michael   wrote on 2012-08-29 at 18:36:


Jetzt wo ich diesen Reisebericht lese wird mir bewusst, das das Treffen mit Robert K. nahezu wie ein Sechser im Lotto anzusehen ist. Da reisen zwei Leute einige Hundert Kilometer in diese Gegend und treffen zufälligerweise einen der Hauptakteure der "Szene" - welch eine Überraschung.

Und Kompliment an Dich Luis - auch ich finde, dass der Artikel wirklich gut geschrieben ist und die Strapazen in der sengende Sonne in Planice haben sich gelohnt.

Weiter so!

2)   Sascha   wrote on 2012-08-29 at 15:34:


Oh ja, ein traumhafter bericht.
Da bin ich glatt neidisch.
Freut mich aber für dich das du das alles erleben durftest.

Gut geschrieben und viele neue sache habe ich gelernt. ;)

1)   Brian   wrote on 2012-08-29 at 15:29:

Toller Text!

Luis, wie versprochen, es ist ein tolelr Text und eine schöne Geschichte, die du im Skiflug-Mekka erlebt hast.
Da ich nun auch endlich Robi selbst getroffen habe und kennenlernen durfte, weiß ich, wie du dich danach gefühlt haben musst ;)

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