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History of the ski jumps at Harrachov

on 2014-03-11

Only a couple of days before the Ski Flying World Championships at Harrachov we take a closer look at the ski jump history of the town in Giant Mountains, where ski jumping dates back to the early 20th century.

The first hills at Sacherberg and Teufelsberg

Harrachov is said to be one of the oldest ski jumping places in Giant Mountains. Already in 1908 the German winter sports club Harrachsdorf-Neuwelt was founded and in the same year also the Czech ski club LTBK Novy Svet. First competitions were organized on small snow hills at Sacherberg.

In World War I the activities of both clubs came to a rest, but in 1919 the German winter sports club built up the first devil’s mountain hill at “Čerťák”, initiated by two hotel owners. In these days it was the largest ski jump of Czech Republic and allowed jumps of up to 40 meters.

Kongressschanze and Verbandsschanze at Ptačinec

During the FIS Congress in Prague in 1922, the international ski congress tournament – which was then from 1925 on called “World Championships“ – were appointed to Harrachov. Therefore a new ski jump should be build. Both ski clubs cooperated on the construction of “Kongress-Schanze” at Vogelsberg in the village of Ptačinec, which could be inaugurated already on December 10, 1922. A novelty with this hill was a phone connection between inrun and outrun!

Europe’s best athletes competed in the Congress Tournament in 1923, but an audience of 10,000 spectators only got to see distances up to 34.5 m. This lead to an immediate reconstruction of the hill in summer, including an inrun tower. Later Willi Dick realized a hill record of 49 meters during Czech Nationals there in 1927.

In 1928 the decision was made to build an even larger hill, which was situated about 200 meters higher and inaugurated as “Verbandsschanze” in 1930. The hill was projected by Karel Jarolimek with a modern profile, but it was prone to wind and thus the inrun tower even collapsed during a storm in 1937. The hill record on it was then 69.5 meters.

During the period between the two World Wars a number of great ski jumpers competed at events in Harrachov, among them Willi Dick, Birger Ruud, Gustl Berauer, Sepp Bradl or Hans Lahr. Most important competitions in these days were the Congress Tournament, Czech national championships, Sudeten area championships, devil’s mountain tournament and championships of HDW. The “Association of German winter sports clubs in Bohemia and Moravia” (HDW) had brought up many talented ski jumpers during these days, but got a pawn in the hands of the powerful during Nazi time and was dissolved in 1938.

The ski jumping center at devil’s mountain after World War II

After World War II and the merging of both clubs as TJ Jiskra Harrachov ski jumping activities concentrated at devil’s mountain “Teufelsberg / Čertova hora” and in 1952 the hills there were reactivated. In 1955 the facility was completely changed. The large hill was profiled into a K70 and the smaller into a K50. Also a new 30 m “pioneer ski jump” was added, which became one year later the first Czech hill with plastic mattings.

In the 1970’s the wooden structures had dilapidated and had to be renewed. In 1979 the facility was inaugurated after setting up new steel towers and re-profiling. The large hill had become a K90, the middle ski jump a K70 and the small a new K40 ski jumping hill. Up to the day the profiles of all three jumps have been adapted to the latest fashion, which is a merit of the local ski jump architect Josef Slavik, and of course also changing rules of FIS. Harrachov with its K90 was host of Nordic Junior World Championships in 1993 and in 1998 the K90 hill was plastic covered and a ceramic inrun track was installed.

The junior hills at Kaml

The small ski jumping facility for young ski jumpers is located in the lower district of Kaml. The first small ski jump there was built in 1966 and another smaller ski jump added in 1975. For almost 40 years many summer and winter competitions for kids and pupils had been organized there. Then a flooding tore away the small bridge over Kamenice creek in the outrun and also the jumps themselves were damaged. But already in fall 2007 the renovated plastic covered hills K26, K18 and K10 with stainless steel tracks, new watering and floodlights could be inaugurated. Another mini hill K5 was added in 2010.

The ski flying hill at Čerťák

Already during the construction of Devils’s mountain ski jumps in 1952, first plans to build a 100 meter ski flying hill were made. But it took until 1970’s for the Czechoslovak ski federation to decide on a common the project of Czech Ing. Belonoznik and Swiss Grasser to build Čertak ski flying hill. After the approval of the FIS at Čertak the sixth ski flying hill on the world was created until 1979 together with an additional large hill.

In March 1980 the giant hill was opened during a ski flying week. In 1983 it experienced the first Ski Flying World Championships with around 60,000 spectators. But in the following years the flying hill was criticized very much. Bad falls were frequent and the air position during flight was too high with up to 12 m and so the FIS blocked the flying facility. But it was a fundamental expertise in ski jump construction that heights had to be reduced and with V-style coming up profiles of most hills in the world had to be adapted. As a consequence Belonoznik reconstructed the flying hill from 1989 to ’92 according to newest regulations, whereby the K-Point was changed on 185 m and a wind protection wall was installed. In 1996 Andreas Goldberger was the first one in an official competition to jump over the magic two 200 meter line on this hill with his 204 m.

In late summer 2009 floodlights were installed in order to be able to host further attractive competitions in the future on the Ski Flying WC hill of 1983, 1992 and 2002 and the large ski jumping hill. In preparation of the Ski Flying World Championships in 2014, the infrastructure around the hills was significantly improved already in 2012 and new spectator stands set up. Since then the ski jumping area with flying and large hill is called "adidas arena".



Ski Jumps:

CZE Harrachov (Areál velkých můstků Čerťák)
CZE Harrachov (Sportovní areál Čerťák)
CZE Harrachov (Areál Kaml)
CZE Harrachov (Ptačinec - Verbands-Schanze)

Links:

TJ Jiskra Harrachov
Harrachov 2014 - Ski Flying World Championships
Josef Slavík: Skokanské můstky v Krkonoších III - Harrachov

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