Monday, February 20, 2012

Vermont Wonder: The Harris Hill Ski Jump

Saturday, I joined Mitch, a Brattleboro, VT native, at the Harris Hill Ski Jump in Brattleboro.   Harris Hill was the vision of and founded by Fred Harris in 1922.  The only 90 meter ski jump in New England.  It has been hosting first class national ski jump events since 1923.

We had a great time watching the US and international competitors in the annual Fred Harris Memorial Tournament and Pepsi Challenge. It was the only US stop in the 9 event International Skiing Federation (FIS) competition schedule.

As we wandered around we met competitor Alex Madden, from Lake Placid, NY.  He jumps for the New York Ski Ed Foundation.  Currently he is attending the University of Colorado.  He was competing in the Pepsi Challenge

The size of his skis and the equipment fascinated me. The skis are made specifically for ski jumping, with a maximum length of 146% of the competitors body height (weight is also taken into consideration).  Alex told me his height and weight is measured prior to every competion to assure his skis are in compliance with international guidelines.

Shortly after meeting Alex, the opening ceremonies began.  An impressive list of national and international athletes competing in the weekends event were introduced to the crowd. 

The ski lift for the competitors was a pickup truck they sat in the back of with their equipment.  The truck only took them up the first half of the run, past the 189 stairs the spectators climbed to get a better view of the competion. 

They climbed up steep stairs the rest of the way starting at the point of the jumping platform.

These athletes sored through the air up to an incredible 97 meters before landing on the snow again.  Interestingly, when I stood midway up the lower part of the run, I could actually hear them whizz by me as they sored through the air. 

I am glad I had the opportunity to witness the Harris Hill Ski Jump Competion, and I hope to witness all over again next President's Weekend.


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