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From Olympic to junior ski jumps: Construction works in full swing

on 2019-08-12

Not only the ski jumpers used the long spring break for preparation for the new season, also ski clubs and constructors have done their works in order to raise the quality of ski jumping facilities all around the world. Skijumpinghills.com wraps the most important activities up in this article.

All around good news from and for Predazzo

It is interesting to conclude in what circles things sometimes just happen again. And, so it is with the Olympic Games in Italy. In 2026, the spotlight will be on Milano and Cortina d’Ampezzo, just 20 years after the last Olympic Games on Italian territory in Torino and 70 years after the first Games in Cortina back in the day. The venue for ski jumping competitions (including Nordic Combined obviously) will be the Stadio del Salto in Predazzo, which will undergo minor renovations in the next few years. Apart from the two big hills, which will be used then, the junior hills are now finally completed.

While an additional small hill (K10) has been added to the existing K20 and K30 in 2016, all three of them were refurbished last year and now also got new plastic mattings. But the best news for Italian ski jumping actually was the rebuilding of the K60, which was abandoned for about twelve years, but is actually the most important type of hill for developing youth jumpers and making it from the smallest to the bigger hills. It took a bit longer until the plastic was finally on this new HS 66, but now it can be used and will see its first real competition during the “Un salto per Matteo” (‘A jump for Matteo”) event on August 13. This is a charity event for former ski jumper Matteo Antico, who had a serious accident at paragliding and is depending on a wheelchair until to date.

Oberhof’s new medium hill is open

Not too many people might remember it, but in 1951 the GDR national championships took place in Oberhof with an incredible audience attendance of 120,000 spectators. Another historic event was the inauguration of the first ever plastic matting hill only three years later. At least this one, named after the inventor of the plastic mattings Hans Renner (unlike the Thüringenschanze, which was torn down later) was kept alive until 2015. Two years later, also the small two junior hills were demolished.

Plans for a new medium already existed since 2011, when it was already clear a new one will be needed. But it took seven years until the construction works finally started. In just eight months of work, the new HS 70 was opened for the winter operation in December 2018. In April and May also the plastic was added and so this ski jump can be used all year long from now on. “Finally we have a home hill again! This saves costs, time and efforts and improves the training conditions for us”, former world record holder and coach Ralph Gebstedt says. Which means that the 5.4 million Euros of investment should pay off, now that Oberhof also have a medium hill as well as the normal and large hill im Kanzlersgrund, which will see a Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix for the first time ever, more than nine years after the last edition of a Nordic Combined World Cup in Oberhof.

Quick and clean works in Vikersund and Stams

In 2010, when the Monsterbakken in Vikersund was re-constructed and became the largest hill in the world, the old K65 had to be destroyed. Eight years later, the great family of the Vikersund Hoppsenter had a new member: A new ski hill of the same size, which was inaugurated just in time for the Masters (seniors’ world championships) in January and is located between the flying and the large hill. Now, it has also been equipped with the club track inrun system by Peter Riedel and plastic mattings by a few dozen volunteers in just two weeks and will be ready for the official opening competition in August.

Also, the K60 in Stams, next to the famous Skigymnasium, received a new surface already in April, before the athletes did their first jumps of the new season: The plastic mattings were completely exchanged, so that this important training hill shines in a new light.

Unexpected complications in Lake Placid

After the last renovation in 1994 and receiving the “go” for hosting the 2023 Winter Universiade (Students’ World Championships), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) of the state of New York finished the plans for a renovation of both K90 and K120 hills of the Olympic Jumping Complex. The first phase of the renovation, which is expected to be done by autumn this year, already started in April by ripping off the decking in the inrun tower of the K90 in order to install new refrigerating frost rails as a new cooling system there. ORDA President Mike Pratt stated: “The projects modernize the facility and improve our ability to host events and training for athletes.” By the usage of the plural, he also meant the profile adoption to modern standards of both hills, which also shall help reducing the amount of needed snow in the future – a project which will be worked on from 2020. Moreover, both visitors and athletes shall have a more comfort transportation, which is supposed to be secured by replacing the old chairlift by eight-person gondolas and a glass-elevator.

In June, just after the whole inrun decking of the large hill was stripped off, it got clear that the estimated amount of costs of 5 million US Dollars for the state-funded project will not be reached. Even worse: The new total costs are calculated with 12 million US Dollars, “the price we were looking at”, as Pratt said. Now, ORDA is looking for funds for the remaining money. “In reality, we’re going to have to bite off bits and pieces to have a successful project,” Pratt told the ORDA board. The good news is: The ski jumps shall operate again according to the original plan. Pratt confirms: “We’re going what we need to do to operate.” Regarding the never-ending story of the renovation of Copper Peak and the most-likely canceled project at Red Wing, this still is another episode of unsatisfying news about ski jumping hill projects in the USA.

Progress in Eau Claire

A bit earlier than the hills in Lake Placid, a new K55 in Eau Claire, next to the already existing K30, K15 and K7 might be operational for jumping. The K40, which stood at the same place at Mount Washington and was outdated, has been torn down in favor of this new ski jumping hill. The costs for this new hill, that shall now be an important intermediate between small hills and the Silver Mine Hill, the normal hill, at Eau Claire, are calculated with 900,000 US Dollars. The 100-foot high steel tower was already constructed, now also the plastic mattings need to be put on the slope, which has been already prepared in 2018.

Dan Mattoon, member of the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame, explained: “Tearing down the old jump two years ago kind of put a hole in the progression of these jumpers and so, now that we will have this hill back by late fall or late summer, they will be able start jumping on it immediately with the plastic surface. So, it is really going to help aid those kids that are ready for this ski jump (Silver Mine Hill, note of the editorial).”

Small steps forward in Nizhniy Novgorod and Moscow

Interestingly, the situation in Russia is not too different from the USA. The two hotspots of construction works at ski jumping hills (and also rumors around them) are Nizhniy Novgorod and Moscow. Good news first: After the Russian Ski Federation announced the reconstruction of the junior hills in Nizhniy Novgorod in April the works have started. Four ski jumps are already in use there, at least three of them will be renovated. Additionally, the construction of a K60 – the new biggest ski jumping hill there – has started and shall be completed within one year. Plans for even larger jumps do exist, but will not become reality anytime soon.

Good news came also from Moscow. After the famous hill at Sparrow Hills got seriously damaged by a fire in 2012, it was finally demolished in 2016. The whole environment, including the cable car, which crosses Moskva to reach the Luzhniki Stadium, has been reconstructed. In 2018, also pictures of rebuilt small hills became public. After it was not clear whether a new bigger hill is going to be built, the Russian Ski Association released a press statement saying that the works for two new ski jumps matching international standards have started and the fundaments are already completed. Now, the real construction works of these two new (a medium and a normal hill) are going to start and shall be completed in 2020. These hills should serve as training and competition facility, especially for students of the Moscow RGSH Stolitsa Dinamo, just as Irina Avvakumova back in the day.

The rebuilding of the Średnia Krokiew complex in Zakopane

In May, construction works at the ski jumping complex in Zakopane started as well. Around 38 million Polish Złoty (ca. 9 million Euros) is the investment for rebuilding the four existing ski jumps K85, K65, K35 and K15, which is 2 million Złoty less than expected. Next to the rebuilt K35, another, smaller hill with K-Point 23 meters will be built additionally. On top comes a new lift, which serves the normal hill, which will become a K95 according to modern standards, and the medium hill there, which costs around 6 million Złoty (1.5 million Euros). As long as these works are going on, for approximately two years, the ski jumpers from Zakopane will have to train in Wisła and Szczyrk, which are both three hours away. For sure not an ideal situation, but the project comes a bit too late anyway, since the hill profiles were not updated since 2003.

Ongoing constructions at the Skakalni center POK

The ski jumping history in Otlica, a small village above Ajdovščina, is still a very new one and started thanks to Zlatko Krivec, a ski jumping enthusiast, who built a small hill for his grandson Teo in winter 2013. After having a competition with 15 participants, Krivec felt encouraged to even buy plastic mattings. Out of this idea, the new club SK POK (Predmeja, Otlica and Kovk) was established. Now, this organization is making the next bigger step and building a small center in the hills of Otlica with three ski jumps with K-Points of 35, 25 and 15 meters. The club received a funding by the community of Ajdovščina of 15,000 Euros and started the works already in 2017. Last year, the slopes were prepared and the inrun of the largest hill is already done. The next step now is to put plastic on all three hills, these works have already begun and might be done by autumn.



Ski Jumps:

ITA Predazzo
GER Oberhof (Wadeberg)
NOR Vikersund (Storbakke)
AUT Stams
USA Lake Placid (MacKenzie Intervale Ski Jumping Complex)
USA Eau Claire (Mt. Washington)
RUS Nizhniy Novgorod (Park Pobedy)
RUS Moskva (Vorob'yevy gory)
POL Zakopane (Średnia Krokiew)
SLO Otlica (Skakalni center POK)


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