The History and Overview of Ski Jumping

Holmenkollen Ski Jump

    Ski jumping is a sport that acutally has roots that trace back to America, with emphsis to the midwestern states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.  The sport of flying on skiis itself goes back to the 1880's, nearly 10 years before the first recorded distance record was set!  At a distance of 37 feet, Mikkel Hemmestvedt would make the record books with much pride.  A picture of the Hemmestvedt brothers taken over 110 years ago is below (Ski Jumping Centeral.)

   Hemmestvedt Brothers

    Skiing was not a very popular sport until after World War II; however, ski jumping was what most thought of to be skiing.  As early as the 1930's, temporary jumps were erected in Chicago's Soldier Field, what is today the football stadium for the Chicago Bears, for spectators and used shaved ice for snow.  Typically, the shaved ice came from the nearby mountains by the truckload (Ashburner.)

Dry Ski Jump

    Ski jumps usually consist of a steep-declining hill that has the trees removed, as can be seen in the picture above.  The initial portion of the jump is usually man-made to provide enough speed to go off it.  In the middle there is a flat portion with a lip that the jumper will use to take flight.  Following this is a steep decline recessed into the hill, with marks to judge how far the jumper flies.  The jump is well rounded to provide as little disturbances to the jumper as possible; if there was a bump in the hill it would send the jumper into pre-jump or post-jump flight.  In order to obtain maximum flight, the jumper leans forward flat with his skiis to make it as far down the hill as is possible.  An olympic ski jump can be seen below.

                                        Olympic Ski Jump                                                                               Ski Jumper Flat


The History and Overview of Ski Jumping                  
The Physics Behind Ski Jumps                  
                Using Physics to Aid the Jumper                                  
 Improvements to Ski Jumping