Ski jumping programming at Whistler Olympic Park looking to grow numbers 

Events, programs planned in coming weeks

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - MIGHT AS WELL JUMP Ski jumping programming is looking to grow at Whistler Olympic Park.
  • File photo by Dan Falloon
  • MIGHT AS WELL JUMP Ski jumping programming is looking to grow at Whistler Olympic Park.

Young people looking for a jump can get it at Whistler Olympic Park.

The ski jumping season is set to begin in earnest in early December and those interested in giving the sport a try will have a number of chances to do so.

One unique session will take place on Dec. 17 as Sea to Sky Nordics has a velocity and air-training session planned at the park for young people who are already involved in skiing and want to try something a little bit different.

"It's a recruiting tool so it's mostly geared at kids that are in alpine or freestyle or programs like that. The idea is that it gives them an opportunity to ski down the landing hill of the large jump and then we'll do training on the 20- and 40-metre (jumps)," ski jumping head coach John Heilig said. "The idea is to give them a chance to experience high-speed skiing, which for alpine racers can be a good training mode anyhow. Then they get to try jumping on the 20- and 40-metre jumps on their downhill gear."

Heilig stressed that the participants must be members of an alpine, freestyle or jumping club to ensure they meet the insurance requirements.

"It's not an open, free-for-all coming down the landing hill," he said.

Organizer Jim Woolsey, who chairs the local organizing committee for the Canadian National Ski Jumping Championships, said hopes for the event are high, and he'd like to see some people come have a look.

"We're expecting likely between 30 and 40 for the actual event and then we're hoping for a few people to come and watch," Woolsey said. "In ski jumping, we would like to build a deeper cohort of athletes in the corridor and introduce it to more young people."

Ideally, the skiers enjoy the session and want to continue with the sport. There are two options of varying commitment with drop-in "night flights" on Wednesday evenings and the "Hoppers" program on Sunday afternoons.

The drop-ins start Dec. 14 and cost $20 plus the $5 day ticket to the park. Those interested can sign up for one session at a time and use their alpine skis or skis provided by organizers.

"Anybody can come out and jump on the 20- and 40-metre hills. They can do it on their alpine skis. We also have hybrid jumping skis that they're also able to try... They're between jumping skis and cross-country skis. They're wider than cross-country," Heilig said. "You can come once. You can come twice. You can come every Wednesday."

The program is open to anyone aged seven and older.

The Hoppers program kicks off on Dec. 11 and runs through into March as part of a program primarily designed for kids. The Hoppers program is $385 plus tax for ski jumping only or $450 plus tax with an optional Nordic combined program.

"It's more of a commitment and it's a good opportunity to learn about ski jumping," Heilig said.

To register for the Dec. 17 velocity and air training event, visit zone4.ca/reg.asp?id=13716. The event costs $45.

For more information about the other ski jumping programs, check out www.whistlersportlegacies.com.

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