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All or nothing: Braunlage tries to make the dream of a large hill become true

on 2018-09-20

Since 2014, the wintersports club (WSV) of Braunlage is lacking of a relevant big sized ski jumping hill. There has been massive sadness after the well-known Wurmbergschanze had to be demolished after a circle of bad luck situations. But now there is new hope: A crowdfunding should be the initiative to build a completely new large hill. knows about the plans.

The past:

The people of Braunlage look back on the ski jumping past proud and sad at the same time. The memories of the golden era of hosting Continental Cup competitions for more than ten years on the Wurmbergschanze are still present. Great athletes such as Toni Nieminen, Andreas Widhölzl and Sigurd Pettersen for the men and Anette Sagen, Daniela Iraschko and Coline Mattel for the women have left their footprints on this ski jumping hill. After the last renovation in 2001, the Wurmbergschanze has had a metal inrun track with glass-ceramic on it and a heating option; something that was hypermodern back in the day.

On August 28th in 2014, only three and a half years after the last COC competition, the inrun tower of the Wurmvergschanze fell down after access has been prohibited a couple of years before due to safety reasons. Damages after a storm and due to rust did not leave any other choice. WSV Braunlage is still seeing massive building failures and carelessness responsible for this. The existing components of the hill are the rests of the spectators’ stands and the flattened landing slope which is surrounded by fences.

The present:

Since the Wurmbergschanze has been demolished, there are five ski jumping hills in Braunlage, but only four of them can be used (all-year-long). After closing the K70, a so-called medium hill, a K58 is the largest one of them. Children and teenagers have a basis to train until they reach a certain level of development. This fact makes most of the talents move away from Braunlage and mostly to Oberhof, where they find high-standard conditions since the normal and medium hill have been rebuilt. Moreover, there is going to be a new 70-meter-ski jump there very soon. The task, WSV Braunlage have set themselves now is: Stopping the loss of talents with a new project called "ALL for one".

The plan:

Those who want to gain and keep talents has to offer perspectives and of course the activists in Braunlage are aware of that. And so this group around the chairman of WSV Braunlage, Jens Koch, who is also touring as a trial jumper still, worked on a concept. And they go all-in: Approximately six million Euros should be spend in a brand new multifunctional arena with four ski jumping hills which is supposed to be built at the same place as the existing Brockenwegschanzen. What is necessary now, is an initial funding of 375,000 Euros which needs to be made until the 27th of October by a crowdfunding. In case this plan does not work out, the dream dies as fast as it was born.

The essentials already exist: The state of Lower Saxony guarantees high subventions for the development of chosen sports facility for the next year and that is exactly what Braunlage is aiming for. In addition to that: The architecture concept has already been made and promises a very low possibility of wind interference, a short distance to the center of Braunlage and a minimal cut into the nature.

The Crowdfunding:

A crowdfunding in ski jumping is nothing entirely new: Lots of athletes from smaller ski jumping countries try to use this opportunity to collect money they need to do their sport. But a ski club collecting money for building a new ski jumping hill is relatively new. All supporters can send in their money via the platform "KAM on!", values between one and 66.666 Euro(s) are possible. Just as usual and typical for this concept of funding, the supporter can get a give-away, if he or she would like to.

The future?

The new facility is supposed to be completed until 2021. Then, the new large hill with hillsize 117 would be the heart piece of this touristic attraction. Inspiration is contributed by already existing facilities: Just like in Oberstdorf, further experiences like a sky walk park including a flying fox at the inrun tower, tubing or a boulder wall at the inrun tower are planned in order to attract the people all year long.

And the visitors of the region of Harz are demanding: Since a couple of years the number of tourists is increasing by binary percent numbers, so there is definitely potential. The architecture of the facility would also allow to organize events such as concerts and open air cinema. So far, the project has received prominent support, especially from members of the German Ski Federation (DSV): With Andreas Wellinger, Marinus Kraus and Andreas Wank, three of the four Olympic champions of 2014 have given their vote for the project as well as the sporting director for ski jumping and Nordic combined of the DSV, Horst Hüttel.

The main goal on the agenda is to bring back the international ski jumping to Braunlage. Just as in the golden days of the Wurmbergschanze, WSV Braunlage would like to host a-class-level competitions for ladies (back then it was COC, today it would be World Cup), national championships and also competitions in Nordic combined. In addition to that, the new ski jumping hill shall become a training center also for international teams and athletes. The essential for the future plan: The amount of money which is being collected in the crowdfunding needs to be at least 375,000 Euros.

Ski Jumps:

GER Braunlage (Brockenweg)
GER Braunlage (Wurmberg)


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