Ski jumping

Ski jumping is a sport in which skiers go down an "inrun" with a take-off ramp (the jump), attempting to go as far as possible. In addition to the length that skiers jump, judges give points for style. The skis used for ski jumping are wide and long (240 to 270 cm). Ski jumping is predominantly a winter sport, performed on snow, and is part of the Winter Olympic Games, but can also be performed in summer on artificial surfaces (porcelain or frost rail track on the inrun, plastic on the landing hill).


Ski jumping originates from Morgedal, Norway, but the first proper competition was held in Trysil in 1862. The first widely known ski jumping competition was the Husebyrennene, held in Oslo from 1879. The annual event was moved to Holmenkollen from 1892, and Holmenkollen has remained the pinnacle of ski jumping venues.


Today, World Cup ski jumping competitions are held on three types of hills:

  • Normal hill competitions

for which the calculation line is found at approximately 80-100m. Distances of up to and over 110 metres can be reached.

  • Large hill competitions

for which the calculation line is found at approximately 120-130m. Distances of over 145 m can be obtained on the larger hills. Both individual and team competitions are run on these hills.

  • Ski-flying competitions

for which the calculation line is found at 185 m. The Ski Flying World Record is currently held by Bjørn Einar Romøren (239m), set in Planica (SLO) in March 2005.

Amateur and junior competitions are held on smaller hills.

Individual Olympic competition consists of a training jump and two scored jumps. The team event consists of four members of the same nation who have two jumps each.

Ski jumping is one of the two elements in the Nordic combined sport.

Women's ski jumping

Currently, women ski jump internationally in the Continental cup. On May 26, 2006, the International Ski Federation decided to allow women to ski jump at the 2009 Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic and then to have a team event for women at the 2011 world championships. FIS also decided to submit a proposal to the International Olympic Committee to allow women to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. On November 28, 2006, the proposal was rejected by the Executive Board of the IOC. The reason for the rejection cited the low number of athletes as well as few participating countries in the sport. The Executive Board noted that women's ski jumping has yet to be fully established internationally. Currently there are 135+ athletes competing on an international level, which is more than snowcross and ski cross. Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee states that they don't allow women ski jumpers in the Olympics because "We do not want the medals to be diluted and watered down," referring to the relatively small number of potential competitors in women's ski jumping. Meanwhile, the current record holder on Vancouver's 90m Olympic hill is US female jumper Lindsey Van. However this hill record was set with more inrun speed and with more wind than the men competed with. These two differences are a considerable advantage in ski jumping.


The winner is decided on a scoring system based on distance and style.

Each hill has a target called the calculation point (or K point) which is a par distance to aim for. It is also the place where many jumper land, in the middle of the landing area. This point is marked by the K line on the landing strip. For K90 and K120 competitions, the K line is at 90 m and 120 m respectively. Skiers are awarded 60 points if they land on the K Line. For every metre short/beyond this average, jumpers receive fewer/more points than the par 60 (1.8 points per metre).

In addition, five judges are based in a tower that lies to the side of the expected landing point. They can award up to 20 points for style based on: keeping the skis steady during flight, balance, good body position and landing.

The final score consists of the distance score plus the middle three style scores from the judges (the highest and lowest scores are ignored). For the individual event, the jumper with the best combined total from his two jumps is the winner.


Using the modern V-technique, pioneered by Jan Boklöv of Sweden in 1985, world-class skiers are able to exceed the distance of the take-off hill by about 10 percent compared to the previous technique with parallel skis. Aerodynamics has become a factor of increasing importance in modern ski jumping, with recent rules addressing the regulation of ski jumping suits. This follows a period when loopholes in the rules seemed to favour skinny jumpers in stiff, air foil-like suits.

Previous techniques first included the Kongsberger technique, developed in Kongsberg, Norway by two ski jumpers, Jacob Tullin Thams and Sigmund Ruud following World War I. This technique had the upper body bent at the hip, a wide forward lean, and arms extended the front with the skis parallel to each other. It would lead to jumping length going from 45 meters to over 100 meters. In the 1950s Andreas Daescher of Switzerland and Erich Windisch of Germany modified the Kongsberger technique by placing his arms backward toward his hips for a closer lean. The Daescher technique and Windisch technique would be standard for ski jumping from the 1950s until the V-style technique was developed in 1985.

The skiers have to touch the ground in the Telemark landing style. This involves the jumper landing with one foot in front of the other, mimicking the style of the Norwegian inventors of Telemark skiing. Otherwise the style points will be reduced.


Ski jumping is popular among spectators and TV audiences in Scandinavia, Central Europe and Finland. Almost all world-class ski jumpers come from those regions or from Japan. Traditionally, the strongest countries (with consistently strong teams) are Finland, Norway, Germany (formerly both East and West), Austria, Poland, Slovenia and Japan. However, there have always been successful ski jumpers from other countries as well (see list below). The Four Hills Tournament, held annually at four sites in Bavaria (Germany) and Austria around New Year, is very popular and draws huge crowds.

There have been attempts to spread the popularity of the sport by finding ways by which the construction and upkeep of practicing and competition venues can be made easier. These include plastic "fake snow" to provide a slippery surface even during the summer time and in locations where snow is a rare occurrence.

Notable ski jumpers

Currently active
Country Flag Name
Austria Martin Höllwarth
Martin Koch
Andreas Kofler
Wolfgang Loitzl
Thomas Morgenstern
Gregor Schlierenzauer
Andreas Widhölzl
Czech Republic Jakub Janda
Roman Koudelka
Finland Janne Happonen
Matti Hautamäki
Arttu Lappi
Veli-Matti Lindström
Harri Olli
Germany Michael Neumayer
Martin Schmitt
Georg Späth
Michael Uhrmann
Andreas Wank
Japan Noriaki Kasai
Takanobu Okabe
Norway Lars Bystøl
Tom Hilde
Anders Jacobsen
Roar Ljøkelsøy
Bjørn Einar Romøren
Sigurd Pettersen
Anders Bardal
Poland Stefan Hula, Jr.
Adam Małysz
Robert Mateja
Klemens Murańka
Kamil Stoch
Tomislaw Tajner
Slovenia Robert Kranjec
Jernej Damjan
Primož Peterka
Rok Urbanc
Switzerland Andreas Küttel
Simon Ammann
Russia Denis Kornilov
Dimitry Vassiliev

Notable unsuccessful ski jumpers

Notable female ski jumpers

Important venues

Ski jumping World Cup

Four Hills Tournament

Nordic Tournament

Ski flying

Ski flying is an extreme version of ski jumping. The events take place in big hills with a K-spot of at least 185 meters. There are five ski flying hills in the world today. Vikersundbakken in Vikersund, Norway; Oberstdorf, Germany; Kulm, Austria; Letalnica; Planica, Slovenia; and in Harrachov, Czech Republic. The sixth hill, Copper Peak in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is currently disused although there are plans to rebuild it to FIS standards. The biggest hill is in Planica, where all the longest ski jumps have taken place. It's possible to fly more than 200 meters in all the ski flying hills, and the current World Record is 239 meters, set by Norwegian Bjørn Einar Romøren in Planica 2005. The longest jump ever was 240 meters long, achieved by Janne Ahonen at the same competition, but it is not recognized as a record because Ahonen fell when he landed. Since 1972 there's been a Ski flying World Championship every other year.

National records

Rank Nation Record holder Length
1. Bjørn Einar Romøren 239 meters
2. Matti Hautamäki 235.5 meters
3. Gregor Schlierenzauer 233.5 meters
4. Robert Kranjec 229 meters
5. Dimitri Vassiliev 228 meters
6. Michael Neumayer 227.5 meters
7. Adam Małysz 225 meters
8. Daiki Ito 222.5 meters
9. Andreas Küttel 222 meters
10. Alan Alborn 221.5 meters
11. Antonin Hajek 219 meters
12. David Lazzaroni 212 meters
13. Roberto Cecon 207.5 meters
14. Isak Grimholm 207.5 meters
15. Petr Chaadaev 197.5 meters
16. Radik Zhaparov 196.5 meters
17. Martin Mesik 195.5 meters
18. Jens Salumäe 195 meters
19. Stefan Read 191.5 meters
20. Heung Chul Choi 191 meters
21. Oleksander Lasarovich 178.5 meters
22. Christoph Kreuzer 162 meters
23. Gabor Geller 139 meters
24. Baris Demirci 123 meters
25. Dmitry Chvykov 122 meters
26. Zhandong Tian 121.5 meters
27. Florin Spulber 118 meters
28. Petar Fartunov 116.5 meters
29. Glynn Pedersen 113.5 meters
30. Kakhaber Tsakadze 105 meters
31. Josip Sporer 102 meters
32. Andreas Bjelke Nygaard 100.5 meters
33. Skarphedinn Gudmundsson 64 meters
34. Hal Nerdal 53 meters
35. Kristaps Laganovski 52 meters
36. Dunstan Odeke 50 meters
37. Richard Brown 35 meters

Water ski jumping

The ski jump is performed on two long skis similar to those a beginner uses, with a specialized tailfin that is somewhat shorter and much wider (so it will support the weight of the skier when he is on the jump ramp.) Skiers towed behind a boat at fixed speed, maneuver to achieve the maximum speed when hitting a ramp floating in the water, launching themselves into the air with the goal of traveling as far as possible before touching the water. Professional ski jumpers can travel up to 70 meters. The skier must successfully land and retain control of the ski rope to be awarded the distance. An extreme version of this sport named Ski Flying was promoted by Scot Ellis and Jim Cara, in which boat speeds and ramp heights are boosted because physics have proved that the standard 75ft line and traditional 35mph boat speed is outrun by the skier and the pro skier was ahead of the boat, being held back by the line.

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