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Traditional hills under reconstruction – Part 2: Letalnica bratov Gorišek

on 2014-11-09

Winter is coming soon and so the time to complete construction works is running out fast. The spotlights of the past months have definitely been in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria and in Planica, Slovenia. We focus on the progress of works and introduce the new ski flying hills to you in detail. The second part is about Letalnica bratov Gorišek in Planica.

The ski jumping family was thinking some time “there will not happen anything”. The world cup final 2014 has been transferred from the flying to the large hill. This large hill was completed with one and a half year delay, but at least it was there when it was really needed. Seven ski jumps in each size, from K13 to K125, are now standing in Planica, but only “The Old Lady” – the inofficial name of the Letalnica bratov Gorišek (the ski flying hill of the architects, the Gorišek Brothers, note by editorial) – was not in order. In summer 2013 the workers have started to redesign the landing slope. It was not the normal digging works as in each summer, but a remake from the feet to the top. Also the head was taken from the Letalnica: the inrun that was unique. A metal construction with timber on it. It was so much high-angly that every normal human got scared of it.

From the beginning on, it was totally clear that the investments and also the efforts will be a lot higher than at the Kulm. And, connected with that, the building time was supposed to be longer. It was almost impossible to do all these works within one summer. “2014 will be the time to see a new world record in Planica”, said press and PR boss Tomi Trbovc one week before the world cup final 2012. Already 1.5 years later, it was clear his statement will not be the truth. The building company went bankrupt, the project was touch-and-go and there was no replacement until the world cup final 2014. So now, not only the time pressure increased, but also the financial pressure. If the project was not finished until 2015, the Slovenes would have lost their claim for the subsidies of the European Union. But then, a new building company and even an investor were found. So the workers could continue.

The old-old TV tower on the left side of the slope (looking from the valley) was taken down and replaced by a new one that was build within two weeks. And there were also some arrangements at the judges’ tower. By putting down the porch on a lower level, the highest level of the tower became unnecessary. The landing slope is almost similar to Vikersund now, which is not a miracle due to the fact that the architects of both ski jumps are the same ones: the Gorišek's, Father Janež and his son Sebastjan. Until the beginning of August, people were still able to recognize the old Letalnica. The characteristic porch with the walls on both sides was still reality some weeks ago.

Then, the excavators and cranes came and the landing slope was totally remade, set 2-3 meters deeper in the mountain and wided. The walls and stairs beside it were taken down. An excavator was digging from the bottom up and two more came to his direction down from the new table that has been already standing in October 2013. It seemed like billion tons of earth were moved and graded by the machines. At the end of August, the works at the table continued. Concrete bases were made and put together and it soon became clear that the new inrun will be a bit longer and more low-angly. The system, consisting of a lay-down part and an artificial standing part will stay the same. Only the ratio will be a different one: at the old construction, everything above start gate 1 was hovering above the air, this part will be more in the new construction.

But at first, the lay-down was completed – the workers came downhill from the border of lay-down and hovering part to the table. The earthworks were going good which was not natural, facing the high-angly hill. Only the porch took some time. The new porch is some meters wider than the old one that was more looking like a small gutter. Everyone who knows the climate condition at the Planica-valley knows that the snow is sometimes coming earlier than at any other place. That was a fear of the organizers and workers. They have wasted enough time during the months May until August as they were still searching for new building companies and investors. So they took care of the landing zone and covered the parts of the landing zone that were already finished with plastic covers. The intention was to keep the material dry and compact. The snow came on October 23rd, but went away as fast as it came.

The workers have even been working on the weekends and they are still doing it on this large building location. The architects and also the building inspectors were always telling in Slovenian TV interviews that everything is in time and the world cup final will take place on the new ski flying hill. The final decision has been made by FIS Race Director Walter Hofer, who was inspecting the facility on the 11th of November. After his visit he said: "We have everything prepared to fly here and we don’t have any signal that we have to discuss anything else." The Bloudkova Velikanka-jumps HS104 and HS139 are already out of order, because snow guards were already lay down on them for the winter. But talking about the flying hill, there are still some things to do: lines for water and electricity will need to be built. For doing this, the first step has already been made by building a small tunnel under the new fall line. The first parts of these lines were already finished; the others will be laid up the hill. And also the new head of the hill – the final part of the tower – needs to be completed. In addition to that, the electricity installations, for example the heating for the warming-up room, the cooling system for the inrun and the supply units for the snowguns also need to be made.

The new hill data is identical to the new of Kulm (K200, HS225), but it will be possible to jump some meters more on Letalnica than on Kulm. The flight curve will have some similarities to Vikersund’s, at least in the last part of the flight. The OC Planica is not only talking about getting the world record back to this ski jump, but also to have the first jump on or even over 250 meters. In addition to that, the type of building makes it possible to enlarge the hill sooner or later easier. In contrast to Vikersund, the slope is not build with concrete, so that the workers could extend the jump easily on 270 in case of another rule change, which was the wish of Tomi Trbovc and his colleagues have wished in 2012. Upon our request, Trbovc gave also a guarantee that the Slovenian government is care taker of the renovation and that the world record will fall on 19th of March 2015. It takes only a short look into the calendar to get to know that the qualification will take place on this day. So, it is totally legitimate to doubt that the world record will fall then.

Anyway, everybody should be curious if the Slovenians will be able to get the world record back and to break another hitline with 250 after the 100 and 200 meters. We will update all details on the ski jump sites as the certificates and confirmations will be available and given.

Ski Jumps:

SLO Planica (Letalnica)



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5)   Tore Fossen   wrote on 2014-11-09 at 21:34:

Not brothers

Janez and Sebastian are not brothers, but father and son !

4)   Luis Holuch   wrote on 2014-11-09 at 20:09:


Thanks for the hints concerning the Gorišek brothers.
I will correct that in our text.
The passage about the date of a possible world record has just been a quote of what Tomi Trbovc has told us.
It is just the earliest date in which an offical world record can fall in Planica.

3)   555   wrote on 2014-11-09 at 17:10:

Correction 3

World record can fall already on 18th March 2015. Traditionally every year in Planica about 15 slovenian test jumpers test hill on Wednesday in 2 series.

But the problem is this world records woudn't count. Akward situation. Let's say some test jumper would jump 250 meters and then what? FIS would pretend this jump never happened?

2)   555   wrote on 2014-11-09 at 16:54:

Correction 2

Planica K-points and Hill sizes of all 8 jumps

Small hills:
K-13 / HS 15
K-28 / HS 30
K-41 / HS 45

Medium hills:
K-56 / HS 62
K-72 / HS 80

1)   555   wrote on 2014-11-09 at 16:50:


Sebastjan Gorišek who is helping his father by projects is son of Janez Gorišek.

Janez Gorišek (1933- ) and Lado Gorišek (1925-1997) were brothers and original constructors of Letalnica.

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