Luis on Ski Jumping Hill Tournament: Ruhpolding
Next stop of the ski jumping hill tournamentn of our columnist Luis Holuch: the ski jumps at Chiemgau-Arena at Ruhpolding in Bavaria.
Luis on Ski Jumping Hill TournamentBy Ski Jumping Hill Archive author and photographer Luis Holuch
The next stop of columnist Luis Holuch’s journey is at Chiemgau. From Berchtesgaden is he driving to Ruhpolding (very famous for its Biathlon arena). Have fun at reading this (shorter) episode and feel free to like, comment and share!
Ruhpolding: Chiemgau Arena (K115, K90, K65, K40, K20)
Ruhpolding has always been known for the sport of biathlon. The full arena with raging crowds, "the wall" , one of the steepest climbs in existence to deal with the in course of the World Cup and the landscape are a flair for itself and not least the reason why huge events like the biathlon world championships take/took place in the Chiemgau.
But also ski jumping has a relatively long history at biathlon – even if it is mostly just part of the Nordic combined. Only a few people know about it. And my family belongs to the mass who did not know. I used the 30 km long drive to explain some parts of the history to them. They knew Ruhpolding just from watching biathlon. Since Ruhpolding was not too far from our route on the way to Berchtesgaden on, we did not even turn on the navigation device. If we drove down there this year, my story would have been more credible, because the DSV (German Ski Federation) has a successful jumper in the A-Squad. His name is Andreas Wellinger.
The Chiemgau Arena is - logically, I think - not placed Ruhpolding, but another 5 km outside of the center, surrounded between sheer rock walls, which have from time to time moss. There are some smaller parking areas available – the transport during the biathlon areas is organized by shuttle busses. We find some space for our car in the (rarely available) shadow. It is still morning, but already more than hot in our car – even though its white coloured. The heat also does not keep a few dozen of people from seeing the renovated area. Allowed to drive on a narrow asphalt road on the bikes and just OK (Organizing Committee) vehicles, it goes towards the grandstand / enter. It goes forth under a bridge and then you stand even before the grandstand. After a few steps up and see the shooting range and the hills and the associated lift resting. In summer, only the two small jumps can be used and for which the lift is not required.
The road is signposted to the shooting range – you arrive without problems problems there, because biathlon and also shooting workshops are offered in summer – but how to reach the hills? There are no signs and you are not allowed to walk on the asphalt path – at least not in normal shoes. We are looking around from our point of view. Behind us is a kind of bistro that offers seats on the terrace. To the right are the TV platform and next to it a tract, which leads to probably smaller spaces. We go into this tract directly and find a room with a sign: "OK / Directorate" next to its door and have a try of walking in.
A young blonde woman is standing at the desk and (probably) looking for some sheet of paper as we walk into the room. “Excuse me, are we allowed bothering you?”. The lady is looking straight to us and I am that surprised that I was not able to shut my mouth. This lady is looking very similar to Magdalena Neuner and her kind of women is – forgive me this explanation – absolutely my favourite kind of women. But she is “just” a double of her. “Sure, you are allowed to do that. It is my job”, is she laughing. “This is very kind from you”, am I smiling back. “We would like to visit the ski jumping hills for taking some photos. I am writing for a ski jumping website. So, is there the opportunity to walk there?”, am I asking. “May I ask you before how old you are?”, is she smiling. I tell her the truth: “I am 17 years old”. “Oo, that young and already an expert? This is very nice!”, answers she with a huge smile. A lot of thoughts are turning around (in) my head like: “Is this lady flirting with me?! She is at least five years older than me”…So, I was just able to say: “I am just very into ski jumping, age is no matter”. “That is very true”, she says, “Well, you can go there, of course. Just walk down the steps behind this corner and you will end your path at the wooden houses. And the few steps left till the hills should not be a problem without my instructions.”, laughs she. “I guess, we are able to manage that”, am I saying winking. “Are we allowed to walk up to the inruns?”. “No, I am really sorry. We are very strict with that, even if I am totally trusting you. Only athletes and coaches are allowed to go there”, says she politely, but unequivocally.” Too bad, but not changeable. Then, I thank you a lot for your information and this nice talk!”, am I saying finally. “You are welcome and as often as you want to.”, is the lady smiling.
I leave the office like in a trance and just the hot and bright sun wakes me up from daydreaming. To not arouse any suspicions of my dad, I say: “If every employers were like here, it would be more pleasant to go anywhere.” “Yeah, you are right. But Bavaria is not a synonym for the whole Germany”, answers her – correctly. We follow the way the lady explained to us and – through a tunnel – we get to the wooden houses. The hills are 50 meters away from us on the left-hand side. At first, we walk to the plastic matting hills, which are next to the ski lift (on the left) and to the bigger hills (on the right). The fact, that just the two smaller hills have plastic mattings allow the conclusion that the ski jumping department of SC Ruhpolding is not very big. Children of the age 12+ might go to Berchtesgaden for jumping training, like the teenager from 16+ - if they have not already move elsewhere.
From our point of view it is hard to judge about the situation and the construction way of the hills, only: The K20 and the K40 have got ceramic inrun slopes. We go some further steps to the K65 which seems to be in good shape. The grass is beautifully green and not very high, a little contrast to the normal and the large hill who appears in the Nordic combined World Cup from time to time. There are some red signs “Do not move here”, like the blonde lady told us. The grass on both hills is very high and the distance marks are dirty. In addition to that, we notice that the inrun slope of the K90 is not straight. This hill seems to be the most less used here. Taking photos is really difficult, because we are not able to have all hills on one photo. It is even hard to choose the right distance, because there is a volleyball net in the outrun. This visit does not have many sense – unfortunately. The last opportunity for a nice pic is a wooden bridge (see on pic gallery). But that is all. About 45 minutes of driving were not very successful in my eyes.
At least, we had some cool drinks and a piece of “Sacher”-cake on the terrace with view on the shooting range for goodbye. Already in the moment of starting the trip back to Berchtesgaden, I had the hope that the next visit will be more successful – mostly because the driving time will be the same. You will be informed about the success of the plan in the next episode of “Luis on Hill Tournament”. So, see you then and enjoy the summer!
Ski Jumps:Ruhpolding (Chiemgau Arena)