Ski jumps, cross-country trails put to use 

click to enlarge The Closest Thing to Flying A ski jumper makes a training flight at Whistler Olympic Park this week, in preperation for the North American Nordic Combined Junior Championships, and Canadian Ski Jumping Championships. Photo by David McColm.
  • The Closest Thing to Flying A ski jumper makes a training flight at Whistler Olympic Park this week, in preperation for the North American Nordic Combined Junior Championships, and Canadian Ski Jumping Championships. Photo by David McColm.

The recently completed ski jumps at Whistler Olympic Park are getting some use this week with the first ski jumping and Nordic Combined test events taking place from Jan. 2-5. Some of Canada’s top prospects for 2010 are in the field for both events.

The Nordic Combined North American Junior Championships took place on Jan. 2-3, combing cross-country skiing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park’s smaller K95 jump.

The Canadian National Ski Jumping Championships take place on Jan. 4-5.

The first ski jumper off the new jumps was Calgary’s Greg Baxter, who made the first flight on Dec. 28. Zoya Lynch, the first female member of the Canadian ski jumping team, was also on hand to be the first female off the K95 jump. The larger jump — a K125 — is not open yet.

Spectators are welcome to all events, and a large number of people are already turning up at the site to watch the athletes train and see the sport in person for the first time.

Ski jumping is one of the oldest winter sports, with the first organized competitions recorded taking place in 1862 in Norway. In the early days the goal was to go the furthest, but competitions have since been refined to give points for meeting specific distances and for style — keeping the skis steady during flight, proper form and body positioning, and using the proper telemark style landing.

There are two jumps at the Olympic Park, a K95 (95-metre jump) and a K125 (125-metre jump), which is also the distance that skiers are aiming for. To get the full 60 points for distance, jumpers have to land as close to the K95 or K125 line as possible. There are also 20 points for style awarded by five judges, with the highest and lowest scores dropped and the middle three scores averaged out of 20.

Each skier gets two jumps, and the winner is decided by total points in both jumps.

For more information or directions to the venue, visit www.whistlerolympicpark.com.

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