Myth #1(Mother Nature killed the sport of ski jumping) Debunked

Myth #2(NCAA killed the sport of ski jumping) Debunked Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Myth #3(The US doesn't have the talent) Debunked Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Mind Of A Ski Jumper Part 1, 2, 3, 4

The Ultimate Coach - Ski Jump Training Device

Jumping Season Digest: (see bottom of this page)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Jumping Journal: February 13, 2013

Gee has it really been that long.  Almost 4 years since I last jumped.  I guess I didn't quite make the 120 consecutive months of ski jumping.  I did manage to pull off 111 months though.  Not bad for an old fart like me.  Guys my age aren't suppose to be out jumping, that's for the kids.
April 2010 saw my vehicle registration come due.  I had already seen the stupid idea of driving was costing me a fortune each year and I was already thinking of giving up driving when the registration came due at the end of April 2010.  On the day of the opening ceremonies to the Vancouver Winter Olympics I got the news the car was pretty much junk.  I was leaking antifreeze through the head gasket and the transaxle bearing was going out.  I knew come the end of April I was done driving.  I knew this was going to pretty much put a crimp into any jumping.
Time passed by and I finally ended up losing the streak that I had had ever since I started jumping in January 2001.  Bummer.   I didn't really mind.  Ever since 2006, 2007...somewhere in that time frame, long before the digger on the K90 in Lake Placid I had been getting 'cold feet' to jumping.  I knew my mind was working on me and it didn't really bother me anymore.
Even by the end of the summer of 2010 I still was in shape to be biking back and forth to Lebanon to go ski jumping so I left it alone.  Winter of 2011 was no better and by then the bike was starting to give me all kinds of fits so I was still left sittiing at home.
The summer of 2011 came around and I started doing a lot of biking. The original plan was to only be riding for errand running.  The summer of 2011 changed that and I ended up riding 12,000 miles in 2011 as a results.  A big chunk of the miles was purely pleasure riding.  I did go up and watch Dion Cup in early  September.  It seemed a bit strange to be back around ski jumping again.  I can't really say the motivation to jump was there though.
Last winter I thought about trying to drop in on some of the jump meets if the weather would cooperate.  After the worst winter since I moved up here, weatherwise, I managed to keep myself away from the hills once again.  I still managed to grab the start of what would end up being a 21,200 mile year for 2012.  I was out in the midwest when Dion Cup came around so I didn't manage to get up to Lebanon for the meet.
During the late fall and on into New Years Eve it seemed like once a week or once every two weeks I was riding up to the Lebanon/Hanover area.  I knew I was easily in shape but I also knew I didn't have any lighting equipment for riding home after dark.
Shortly after the start of the new year winter started to turn on and I also found myself having a shopping bag hanging off my mailbox.  In that shopping bag was a headlight.  I knew I was in trouble, many more ways than one, biking related and otherwise.  I knew if I didn't want to find myself out riding all the time after dark the simplest secret was to not start riding after dark in the first place.  I kept avoiding it.  I also kept managing to talk myself out of going up to Lebanon or over to Andover for any of the jump meets.  I had thought about it but I always managed to talk myself out of it generally letting the weather make me a whimp.
Shortly after the start of new year I also received an email announcing that Master Championships was going to come back to the Eastern Division for the first time since 1995.  I was now thinking about definitely putting the skis back on and hitting the jumps again.
I kept waiting and waiting look for decent weather.  I knew the competition was coming sooner and sooner.  I kept watching the current and the extended forecast and I was seeing the forecast for the week leading into the competition was looking awfully nice.  It would all depend on if it stayed that way or if it ended up changing.
Well the week in question...Wednesday through Saturday looks gorgeous.  Maybe a bit on the warm but for winds and for riding the bike back and forth to Lebanon the forecast was looking the best of the season.
This afternoon I took off and rode on up to Lebanon.  I knew talking with Dan that he knew where my skis and jump suit was at but he didn't know where my boots were.  I knew where they were the last I was up there back for Dion Cup 1.5 years ago.  After getting up to Storrs Hill I walked up the stairs and found both my boots and helmet weren't where I last knew them to be.  I had the skis and took off and walked over to the jump inn to see if I could find a pair of boots that I might be able to wear.  After trying on several pairs I managed to find something that I figured would work okay.  I walked back over to the lodge to see if I might be able to scrounge up a helmet or not.  I got lucky finally.
I suited up and headed out the door.  I was already running late but that didn't bother me any.  I figured if I got three or four jumps in I would be fine.  I knew to expect the first couple to be a bit hairy thanks to not having jumped in four years.
I put the skis on at the top of the landing hill and after Jared took his first jump of the evening I rode the landing hill.  It wasn't pretty.  I haven't been on skis for a while and it showed.  I walked back up and grabbed several more landing hill rides before I went up for the first jump.  The last two landing hill rides felt half ways decent.  I won't say they were great but they were definitely better than the second one.  I couldn't get/keep the skis under me on the second one to save my soul.
I walked up the trestle and put on the skis.  I was looking down the inrun and I yelled down to Jared "I don't think I should be up here".  After another minute or so I finally decided to go for it.  I was hoping I could remember how to land, err keep the knees bent instead of trying to stiff leg the landing.
I rode down the inrun and barely jumped at the takeoff.  It was definitely one of the shorter jumps I've had in a very long since the first week or so of jumping.  I landed it smoothly and came to stop at the end of the outrun fine and jim dandy like.  I walked back up for the second and after Jared took his next jump I walked on up the inrun.
I put on the skis and was feeling much more comfortable than before the first jump.  I got the signal from Jared and headed on down the inrun.  Much better inrun position.  Jumped at the takeoff.  I hadn't even landed yet and I was shocked.  I wasn't expecting that nice/far of a jump all night long.  I landed smoothly and started down the remainder of the landing hill.  Right before the transition I must have gotten my weight forward and I went down.  At first everything seemed fine but then right before coming to a stop I could feel it.  I was already wandering how this was going to turn out.
I came to a stop and went to reach back to take off the left ski.  I knew that ankle was hurting.  I wasn't sure if it was sprained/twisted or if it was worse than that.  I knew I wasn't going be able to take the ski off myself.  Not a chance.  Someone came out and took the ski off for me.  I already had taken the right one off.  I decided to try to see if I could stand up and walk it off or if I was screwed.  I knew before my foot could even touch the ground that their was no way I was going to be able to walk on the left foot.
After a bit of thinking it through I grabbed a couple of shoulders from the ski patrollers and managed to hobble into the ski patrol room.  They took off the boot and it seemed to come off smoothly.  When they took the sock off and I saw the ankle I pretty much knew that didn't look quite right.  It was swollen but I had bad feelings about it.
After some discussion and some time spent chatting in the ski patrol room they boxed the leg up and Dan said he would take me to the hospital.  I knew I wasn't even going to press my luck and skip the hospital.  I pretty much knew it was broken.  I hadn't broken any bones before but I knew this was worse than a couple of the twisted ankles I had as a kid.
I got to the hospital and after getting the xrays it was found I had both a broken ankle and tibia.  I also had a dislocated ankle as well.  So much for jumping in the Masters Championships this weekend.  Dan came back and picked me up after they had the leg set and casted and I went back to his place and spent the night there before he gave me a ride home in the morning.
Oh well, I guess I'll have two jumps in this winter...two more than I've had in either of the past three winters.
Crash(the name just never dies)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Jumping Journal: March 06, 2010

What a stretch, almost one entire month without ski jumping during the winter months, WOW!!
Yes, it's been a while.  Between hurting my arm on the last jump back in February and Mother Nature here the past two or three weeks there hasn't been much of a decent chance for flying.  It took a week plus for the arm to come back around to normal and then the weather decided to start acting VERY strange.  While Washington D.C. was getting two or three times their annual snowfall per storm I wasn't getting much of anything around here except for VERY sunny skies.  Once the sunny started to disappear then the temperatures rose to very strange/unseasonal levels.  Right now since the first of March the 20 day average temperature in Lebanon has been above the freezing mark.  I figure this by taking the hourly record temperature in Lebanon and adding them up each day for 20 days.  It sits roughly at around 35 degrees right now.  Most of the past week, until last night hadn't seen temperature get below freezing anytime, day or night.  This on top of VERY wet heavy snow for this part of the country and a nice wind storm that swept through the area a week or so ago and left many in the area without electricity.  I was without power for at least 12 hours and some were without power for a couple of days.  The weather just hasn't been cooperative at all and the forecast for the next week is sounding the same, no snow/precipitation and 40+ degrees everyday and lows  in the mid and upper 20s if not warmer.  One night MAY drop down into the teens.
I woke up this morning to the coldest morning seemed, a month.  The overnight low was 21 degrees.  I knew Mud Meet was going to be interesting.  It was going to come down to getting on the alpine and xc courses early before they got to rutted up by the other competitors and then the jumping was going to be REAL interesting given the forecast high in the upper 40s.  It actually ended up reaching 53 for a high today in Lebanon.
I made my way up to Storrs Hill for the end of season tradition that normally wouldn't be held for another week or two but due to a conflicting event at the hill on the day it was originally scheduled the comp got moved to today.  I was helping with the scoring and registration for the event so it kinda kept me tied up for a while.  I finally did get around to heading out and do the xc courses in my alpine gear as I always do and saw while doing the xc course just how soft the conditions were.  I can't ever remember in the past decade having Mud Meet be that soft, not even in mid March.
Watching some of the practice jumps on the 25 in between the morning alpine/xc and the afternoon jumping competition I was questioning if I was even going to bother jumping or not.  Seeing one kid do a beautiful butt bump, err agony of defeat, off the 25 and watching a few of the other kids having trouble stopping made me a bit leery given all the trouble I've had this year jumping.
After finishin off the computer work and getting the morning scores posted and the sheets printed out for the jumping I suited up and headed out to get ready for the competition on the K25.  It wasn't going to be the usual competition for me.  No practice whatsoever.  The competition had been cut back from trial and two to count to just two to count to try and save the inrun for the hoop of fire.
I joined the rest of the gang up on the inrun after rubbing some wax on the skis to see if that might help keep me from sticking.  As it came my turn I headed down the inrun and jumped rather cautiously at the takeoff.  The first nice thing was I didnt stick.  I was a bit surprised.  Just like the last jumps I took back a month ago I noticed it seemed like I was awfully darn high in the air.  I backed out of the jump and still went 18 meters.
I walked up for the second jump and when I got the signal I started down the inrun.  I didn't get into my inrun position quite a quickly as normal.  I finally got myself settled in a jumped at the takeoff and managed to hold the position pretty well into the hill.  My mind was still trying to fight back and tell me to pull out but I was trying my darnedest to fight the mindset.  I landed at 20 meters and ended up falling over after I crossed the fall line.
After the competition was over I got some of the scoring work for the jumping done while Cannonball and the boys set up the Hoop of Fire.  I heard the call from everyone that the hoop was ready.  I pulled myself away from the computer and headed up the hill with the hoop already on fire.  After waiting in line I got my skis on behind Todd and we ended up doing a rapid fire through the Hoop of Fire.  The jump wasn't all that bad but once again I did manage to lose it after I landed down near the transition.
I called it quits and finished up the calculations that saw Bill finish first and Cannonball finish second.  I was, quite naturally, WAY down the list thanks to my alpine and xc times as well as my jumping.
With the current weather forecast I don't if I'll get anymore jumping in before spring gets here or not.  This is going to be my smallest winter of ski jumping no matter how you look at it.  I don't think I have ever had a summer where I have had this few of jumps.  It's just been a luck of enthusiasm, the weather...pretty much everything combined together into one has taken the steam right out of the ship.  I guess my main goal anymore is to see if I can still pull off 120 consecutive months.  I've got to get through December of this year without missing a month to accomplish it.  Under the circumstances that could get VERY interesting by the time late fall into December gets here.
Keep the ski tips up,

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Jumping Journal: February 07, 2010

Not what I had expected or what I was thinking.
The talk after jumping Thursday evening was of possibly jumping the 50 sometime this weekend.  The weekend has come and gone and haven't heard a thing more about it.  Instead I got an email last night from Dr. John asking about the state high school jump meet coming up this coming Friday and he also made mention that he was in Concord and was hoping to jump the K25 in Lebanon today.  I told him I didn't know for sure but I should by the time late morning came around.
I managed to make nice progress on the project I was working on so I decided I would go on up and do some jumping with him on the 25.  I arrived at the hill around 1:30PM and very shortly thereafter he pulled in.  After chatting a few minutes we grabbed our gear and headed inside to suit up.
We walked out and after taking a look at the landing hill we decided it would be best to do a little raking as it looked like right where the left ski would be going down the landing hill there was some ruts and chunks of snow/ice.  After getting the raking done Dr. John went on to ride the landing hill and I walked on up the inrun.
Other than a small little curve about 1/3 the way down the inrun the rest of it looked pretty decent.  I knew given everything it would be fast.  The weather is still being very consistent.  Their has been some more clouds the past couple of days but no snow and the temperatures haven't risen about freezing in a week or more now.  We managed to miss the snow storm that hit the Washington D.C. area with two feet of snow earlier in the weekend.  It does sound like, at least as of last night, that the area might get some snow on Wednesday into Thursday but the temperatures are to remain below freezing for highs.
As I put on my skis I noticed the inrun needed a little work right up in house.  The ski tracks up on top were anything but level and the backside of the right ski actually needed snow to make it nice and level throughout.  With the hardpack snow/ice I knew their wasn't anything I could do about it.
I got the signal from John and started down the inrun.  I was playing it a bit on the casual side.  I didn't sink right into my usual inrun position instead I lollygagged until I was all the way down.  I got the takeoff and did a half hearted jump.  Once I was in the air I quickly realized I was quite high in the air compared to what I had ever been before while jumping on the K25.  The next thing I notice is I'm about to land on P, aka 20 meters, or even further down the hill than that.  I was shocked and started pulling back.  I'm not use to landing that far down the hill.  I've only jumped that far once or twice in the 10 years I've been jumping.  I landing and quickly find myself sitting back.  I also finding myself saying, "I thought I was in Lebanon not Andover."
I walk up and flag Dr. John for his first jump of the day and then walk on up the inrun.  This time I decided I was just going to slide off the end of the takeoff and not even trying to jump any at all.  I put on the skis and got the signal.  I headed down the inrun and pretty much slid off the end and moved into position.  I ended up landing around 18 meters and I was still a bit more height than normal.
I walked up and flagged Dr. John once again.  I made my way up the inrun thinking I knew I had to figure out what I had to do to get myself use to landing so far down the hill.  I figured I would do the smart thing and bite it off a little at a time.  I would add a little more into the takeoff each jump.  I got the signal and headed down the inrun.  I didn't think I really jumped at the takeoff but I must have.  I got in the air and was high again.  I saw myself heading straight for the blue line and I just kept holding the position until it was too late and I couldn't put in a landing.  I ended up falling forward and naturally stuck one of my arms out to brace me, like a fool.  I managed to catch one of my skis, that came off, with the other arm so it wouldn't get away from me.  I came to a stop and knew I had managed to bang myself up yet once again this winter.  This time I did the same thing, whatever that was, that I did back in 2007 when I crashed on the K90 in Lake Placid.  This time it was to the opposite arm.  It seems like its muscle related damage versus anything major.  It just takes time for the pain to go away.  I also managed to ding up the right knee as well.  It has already started to swell up a little.  I think I hit it with one of skis.  I figure it will probably turn black and blue in a day or so.
I called it quits and kept flagging Dr John for a few more jumps before he called it a day as well.
I'm still not sure what the real culprit has been.  Dr. John said on the last jump it looked like I was a big hill jumper moving out over the skis.  I'm not noticing any difference in the move at the takeoff or the flight position in the air.  I do know the inrun speeds have been faster and I think both Andover, back on Wednesday, and the K25 today had a bit of kicker on the takeoff.  In well over a thousand jumps on the 25 in the past ten years I have never had that much height going through the air as I noticed on the first jump and again on the third jump.  Ditto in the 50-75, roughly jumps I've taken on the K38 in Andover.  Maybe its a combination of both the speed and the higher takeoff angle that is making way for me to get so high in the air.  I didn't notice the height on the K50 Tuesday or Thursday evening.  I was jumping further down the hill than I normally would given my lack of jumping on the hill since last winter.  The speed and track are both in real good condition right now though so that would naturally help me get further down the hill.
I am starting to question whether I finally have jumped over the barrier and if I'm starting to make the move out over the skis finally or if its just the inrun conditions that are creating the effect.  It's been the same way now all week long on three different jumps, both the conditions and the jumping.
I guess I'll have to wait until crappy conditions return and then go jump and see what happens.  Right now I have a feeling I'll probably end up missing the rest of this nice streak unless the arm starts feeling a lot better, quickly.  I don't think I want to risk it.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Jumping Journal: February 04, 2010

Gee, is that what happens when you don't jump very often...or can you order up anymore sunshine in the forecast.

Woke up this morning to clouds and sun that gave away to wall to wall sunshine by 9AM. The forecast for the next week is for more of the same. The last time I remember this much during the winter months was in 2001 as New Hampshire was getting ready for a two year drought. We did get a light dusting of snow yesterday so the conditions tonight at the start of the evening wasn't surprising.

I wasn't planning on jumping tonight but looking at the forecast and knowing what the conditions have been like the past two days made me say the heck with it. If I'm going to be seeing this much consistent conditions I figure why not make the most of it and jump the crap out of it. Conditions like these, that last more than one day, don't come around very often, essentially never.

I arrived at Storrs Hill and made my way up the jump inn to find several skis already sitting outside the building. I noticed the name written on one of them, Sasha. I knew who it was, she's one of the high school jumpers from Hanover High School. I was surprised to see that she was thinking of jumping the K50. I figured I probably knew who the other skis belonged to as well. I opened to the door to find out I was right on one individual but wrong on another.

Dan, Sam and Chris was also joining the ranks of those planning for some nice jumps off the 50 tonight. I suited up and headed up the hill behind everyone else. I walked up the inrun and waited my turn in line. I decided to stick with bar three once again tonight for all but the last jump where I went on up to bar four, the top bar.

I put on the skis and got the signal from Nick. I started down the inrun and had a smooth ride down the inrun. It felt more like the end of the winter rather than the beginning. I normally don't have that solid of inrun position until later in the winter. Since I have hardly did any jumping this winter I really am surprised by how well my inrun position has been. I jumped at the nicely at the takeoff and had the ski tips come up quite nicely. I haven't had that kind of a reaction from the ski tips in quite a while. I had a solid stable quiet flight and landed around 32-33 meters. I knew right away the inrun couldn't be as fast as it was back on Tuesday afternoon.

I walked back up and waited my turn. I got the signal from Nick and had a repeat jump only adding an extra couple of meters before I landed. Again everything felt like it was the end of the season rather than the beginning.

The third jump again was a repeat of the previous jump. The fourth jump another repeat. The fourth jump I did find myself with a platform underneath for the first time. I haven't had the feeling a platform underneath until tonight. I've heard it talked about for a long time but I've never even come close to being able to stay I experienced it until tonight. I didn't take to the tips as there just wasn't enough time to think about it and make the move before I was going to land. I held the fourth jump into the hill the longest of any jump I've taken as well. It didn't make the jump go any further than the ones before it but I think it helped with the effect of having the platform underneath me.

I walked up for the fifth jump and once again it was another solid jump down to 35-37 meters. I essentially never have jumps back to back like this going that far down the hill. I believe it was on this jump I almost lost it when I hit a rut going across the bridge in the outrun. I can't say I've ever had that experience before even when jump under spring conditions when you would most expect it.

I took one more jump for the evening and went up one bar higher. I ended up jumping a bit late at the takeoff but I still managed another repeat performance landing real close to 37 meters maybe even a little extra. It was the longest jump of the night.

It does seem strange other than the last jump tonight and maybe a bit on the first jump, my timing was actually pretty decent all night. Normally it should take quite a few more jumps than I've had this winter to get the timing down and then it normally doesn't last long.

This has been a real strange start to the winter. Where it will go next is anybody's guess. I know this is the weekend that sets the rest of the winter in motion or kills the rest of the winter. My plan is to kill it. I keep wondering if that is why I'm having the jumps I've been having.

The mind is a terrible thing to play with..

Keep the ski tips up,

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Jumping Journal: February 03, 2010

Not what I was expecting by a long shot.
I remember sometime in the past couple of years when I went to jump at Andover, it may have been last year in fact, that I got to the takeoff and found an extra pile of snow not as high as the takeoff but within plane view.  It caught me off guard as I had never seen it there before in all the times over the previous eight or nine years that I had jumped there.
I also remember a time several years back, probably Feb/March 2003 or 2004 I jumped at the takeoff and had a very weird feeling.  It felt like I was jumping into a vacuum.  I have seen some rather unusual conditions exist at Andover for the few times that I have actually jumped there.
One thing Andover has been known for over the years is having a higher takeoff angle that sends jumpers high into the air.  For a small 38 meter jump it doesn't seem like you should feel like you are on a big hill but you do because of how much height you get on the jump.
Well tonight...decided I would take the skis with me and jump Andover once again before the next to last high school jump meet of the season.  Normally I try to take three jumps with the kids as they practice before the meet.
I met up with the Sunapee High School team and rode over to Andover with them on the bus.  I've been joining them going to high school meets since right before I started jumping in 2001.  My first time seeing ski jumping in person was at the first high school meet of the season in January that year.  It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that I started jumping myself.
We arrived at the ski jumps around 4:30PM.  I suited up and headed on up the poma lift to the area around the takeoff.  I noticed as I was getting on the poma lift that it appeared the transition was pretty much on the landing hill.  In the past at times it has had a nice dip to it that would throw you if you wasn't prepared for it.  The past two years or so I haven't noticed like I used to.
I walked up the trestle and waited behind some of the other kids.  Andrew, one of the former Concord High School jumper and an eastern jumper for many years, came up the jump with a tracolator and some other tools.  He did a little inrun work and since we have both known and joked with each other for years now he made the statement to me that he had completely iced down the bottom part of the track.  I figured he was just kidding.  He continued do some improvement work to the top of the inrun where kids had managed to knock the track out while getting out onto the bars.
I put on my skis and got the signal from the takeoff.  I started down the inrun and found the inrun in about the best condition I have seen the inrun at Andover...ever.  I jumped at the takeoff and then the usual Andover effect took control.  I found myself WAY high in the air.  I felt like I was jumping on a big hill instead of on a small 38 meter jump.  I didn't think much about until I started noticing how far down the hill I was going.  I ended up backing out since I wasn't used to make it to the blue line.  I ended up landing no higher than 30 meters and maybe even further down the hill than that.  Once again I had been caught off guard by the jump.  I ended up landing behind on the jump and went over backwards and slid on my elbows until I came to a stop.  I was VERY surprised by the jump I just took.  I found myself commenting I didn't know I was in Salisbury.  The jump meet on the K64 in Salisbury, CT is this weekend and it seemed like I was jumping down there instead of Andover, NH.
My goggles came off during the slide and after one of the other kids brought them to me I headed back up the jump.  There ended up being a bit of a pause in the jumping when a kid fell and broke his wrist.  He couldn't have much worse luck.  He got a concussion earlier this year and today happened to be his birthday.  Talk about the rotten luck.
I finally made my way back up top for another jump.  I pretty much knew with the line forming and since I was getting cold that it would end up being my last jump of the day.  I was hoping for a repeat of the previous jump only not letting myself get psyched out by going so far and backing out.  I probably could have had another two meters or more on the previous jump if I would have just stayed with it.
I got the signal from the takeoff and headed down the inrun.  I jumped at the takeoff but chickened out right from there.  I was trying to backout from the start to keep myself from getting so high.  I ended up landing much shorter than the previous.  More in the range of where I normally land on the hill, around 25-27 meters.
Two nights in a row of real strange conditions.  It hasn't been my jumping had changed any it's definitely been the conditions have just been top notch and tonight I still think the takeoff angle was on the high side.  The kids were flying away from the hill versus following the shape of the hill.  I know that is what happened on my first jump
The forecast right now, other than maybe some snow on Saturday, really questionable as to the track of the storm system right now, looks like nothing but sunshine and cool weather, highs in the low 20s and lows upper single digits to teens.  I don't think conditions are going to change much anytime soon the way it sounds.  It would be nice if we could get a nice snow storm to come through sometime in the next week and half to allow Ron and me to get the Newport jump in shape in time for Newport Winter Carnival but this forecast seems pretty much stuck right now on being very consistent.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Jumping Journal: February 02, 2010

Will there be six more weeks of winter or not?  By the forecast of that sly little groundhog there should be six more weeks of winter left here in the Upper Valley.  The sun has been shining and the snow sure hasn't been falling much this winter.  During the month of January there was really only three storm fronts that came through.  Each of the three storms seemed the linger on for quite a few days.  The New Years Day storm never seemed to go away and all it produced was flurries most of the time.  Only 1-1.5 inches during the day and another 4 inches overnight eavh night.  It stuck around three or four days before finally moving out.  Two weeks later another storm, this time on Martin Luther King Holiday.  It stuck around for two whole days before moving out.  The all day rain storm hit last Monday and lasted all day long.
I've been spending the past month babying my left ankle.  I guess you could more so say trying to get any kind of enthusiasm built up to jump.  After the crash on January 5th my ankle finally did swell up about 24 hours later and to this day it still has a built of swelling left.  It never has had any kind of pain but the swelling has been there the whole time.  I think the swelling has mostly been a psychological thing more than physical.  Like I said the enthusiasm to jump hasn't been there.
I've been out around the hills three or four days a week helping out at the Newport jump or going to high school meets or even going to the weekend competitions but I haven't been doing any jumping.  I just haven't had the motivation to even want to jump.
Today I saw the plan was to jump the K50 at Storrs Hill before the send off party for Nick Alexander who is leaving tomorrow to head for Vancouver to represent the U.S. in ski jumping.  I decided since I knew I was going to go up for the send off I might as well see if I couldn't manage to get the month of February off my list as well while the month is still young.
February 2010 marks the 150th consecutive month of ski jumping on the K25 at Storrs Hill.  As far as it's known there is no other ski jumping in the world that has ever managed to make that accomplishment.  Heck the K25 started jumping year round about the same time Nick Alexander started ski jumping.  February would also mark my 110th consecutive month.
I arrived at Storrs Hill a bit late due to running several errands in the process of heading up to Lebanon.  I found preparations were well underway for the send off party.  The satellite TV trucks were already there getting equipment setup to send out live feeds during their newscasts.  I walked over to the jump inn and saw a Dan take a jump.  I knew something seemed a bit strange.  I don't think I had ever seen Dan jump that far on the 50 before.  It told me one of two things...either Dan was finally starting to get the idea or the inrun was fast.  I didn't know which.
I suited up and headed up the hill.  I was a bit surprised to Nick Burke flagging so early in the day.  Normally he isn't around until the usual 6:30PM practice time and it was only 4:15PM.  Given his occupation I figured he would have still been at the office.
As I got to the top of the knoll I saw someone was up getting ready to get on the bar.  It looked like Bill.  I rode the landing hill and it felt a bit strange.  As I got back to the stairs I took a look and sure enough I noticed the toe of the right boots was trying to come up out of the binding.  I had the same thing happen to me before heading down the inrun last summer on K25.
As I started up the inrun the jumper yelled for the signal and than started down the inrun.  It wasn't Bill's voice.  I didn't know who this masked man was.  After I got up top Dan took his next jump and Sam was getting ready for his next jump.  I asked Sam who the other jumper was.  He said it was Walter.  Gee, as it turns out Walter ended up grabbing his first two jumping in 23 years off a K50 this afternoon.  It wasn't to be the end of the day a long shot...not yet.
I got the skis on and got the signal from Nick.  I started down the inrun.  I was playing it safe to put it mildly.  I just wanted a rebuilder jump after all the jumps I had had so far this winter.  I jumped at the takeoff and didn't go for the most convining jump.  It was kind of a mix between jumping and sliding off the end.  I found myself trying to back out in the air, not surprising given the first time off the jump in roughly 10 months.  Again I needed a nice, clean, safe jump...nothing more.  It seemed like a typical jump.  I didn't really pay all that much attention to how far down the hill I went but it seemed like all the rest I've had over thepast six or seven year of jumping on the 50.
I walked back up for the second jump.  This time I was feeling better on the inrun.  I wasn't fully tucked but I was getting down much nicer.  This time I jumped nicely at the takeoff.  I did back out slightly in the air but not as much as before.  This time as I landed I noticed I was way the heck down the hill.  I was landing around 35-37 meters.  The jump wsn't that good of a jump.  I quickly figured out the inrun had to be awful darn fast.  I knew the reason why Dan was jumping so far and it wasn't his technique had improved.
I walked back up for the third and what I had planned to be the final jump of the day.  I got the signal from Nick and made my way down the inrun.  I was getting set real nice in my inrun position.  I jumped at the takeoff and managed to keep the arms under better control but still had a little arm movement in the air.  I ended up a little short of the previous jump.
Instead of heading for the walk back up the jump inn I decided instead to ride the landing hill back to the stairs.  I was going to wait and see what Sam was going to do.  I started walking up the stairs figuring he would go for another jump.  He decided to call it quits so I was going to the last jump to myself.
It was the best inrun position I've had in a LONG time.  I ot nicely set.  I didn't have the upper body up slightly like I normally do on the K25 during the summer months and like I did on the previous jump.  Instead the chest was resting on the knees.  I jumped at the takeoff and was smooth and clean through the air.  The arms stayed at my sides nicely and I just rode it out until I landed.  I was still in the 36-37 meter area but it was the nicest feeling jump I've had since sometime last winter and maybe even before then.
I changed clothes and headed on over for the send off party.  It was good getting to see Nick again.  I saw him back in the late summer but otherwise I haven't seen him in probably a year or more.  As the send off party was winding down several kids and adults took to the K25 to do some jumping.  I had thought about joining them but I didn't.  As I was getting ready to leave I knew I had to go back over to the jump inn to pick up my jump suit.  I had forgotten to take it with me after I finished jumping.  As I walked over I saw someone go flying through the air.  I decided to investigate and find out who was jumping on the K50.  It turned out a couple of high school kids and one of the juniors was jumping.
I stuck around and talked with Tara and Kathleen on the coaches stand while they jumped.  As they finished up Bill came over and said to keep the lights on as Mike and Colin were coming over to ride the landing hill.  As it turns out Colin is the only jumper out of the whole clan of new jumpers that came out last summer that is still in the Upper Valley.  The rest of them head out west for the winter months.  Mike and Colin rode the landing hill and then Dan and Bill managed to talk Colin into jumping it for the first time.  I stuck around and had to watch his first jump off the 50.  Knowing how quickly he took to ski jumping I had to see his first jump.  I was quite highly impressed but not highly surprised.  He came back up and took a second jump before calling it a night.  He was getting down 30+ meters right from the very first jump.  Nice job Colin.
What jumping holds next who knows.  I may practice with the high school kids tomorrow night before their next to last meet of the high school season.  If not it may be a week or so before I jump again.  Like I said the lack of enthusiasm isn't giving me any kind of a push to go jump.
Keep the ski tips up,

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jumping Journal: January 06, 2010

It has taken how many years???  I can't believe I actually jumped that.  It's easy to forget a few details when you haven't been around a particular ski jump in four or five years.
Well, I went to bed last night still feeling it quite nicely in my left ankle.  The right knee had quieted down to real dull whisper.  The ankle was still trying to let me know that it didn't like the tumble I took on the last jump last night.
I woke up and went to the bathroom a couple of times overnight and I was noticing a rather nice drop in the level of the pain/discomfort.  I was pleased but I knew anything could happen between 3AM and 4:30PM.
By morning I could walk...for the most part with any kind of real limping/favoritism to the left ankle.  The knee wasn't even present anymore.  Later on in the morning I did a bit of shopping which seemed to help the ankle and I wasn't noticing it much at all.  I was getting a bit more optimistic but I knew I hadn't put the ski boot on and tried to move in the ski boot to see what that might feel like.
After I got home I decided to put the ski boot on but first I decided to pull down the sock and see if their was any black and blue or swelling around the ankle.  I was surprised given all the pain last night how nothing had come up.  It seemed so unnatural to have pain that noticeable and to not have any swelling.  When I pulled the sock down I did notice their was a small bit of swelling on the left side of the ankle.  At this juncture I didn't know whether I would be able to get my ski boot on or not or if the swelling would be too much.  It wasn't much swelling but I didn't know.  I pulled the sock back up and went to put the boot on.  No trouble getting it on.  I walked across the kitchen.  I got down in an inrun position and did a bit of a hop to simulate landing a jump.  Nothing.
Now I was even in a bit more of quandry.  I knew I was going to take everything with me to the school but I didn't know if I would end up leaving it behind in my car or not.
I got to the school and walked/jogged across the street to the local pizza joint to join the other guys who were over there eating before the meet.  I knew by the way it felt during the small jog across the street in snow boots that I was going to take everything with me on the bus.
Plymouth has a rather unique jump in its own fashion.  If you don't jump far enough you'll end up getting an extra bunny hop going down the landing hill.  I heard two stories tonight from two different coaches about the reasoning behind it.  One said the knoll is ledge rock and they can't do anything with it and the other was saying he heard it was unstable ground and as a result they could do anything with it.
Another interesting feature that it took me until right after my first jump to realize was the transition on the landing hill is also a bit on the sharp side.  It took me a bit to remember that I had seen jumpers have trouble with it in the past.  Tonight was only the third time I've been to Plymouth in the nine years I've been jumping and its the first time I've been there in four or five years.  I think five years, actually.
The Sunapee team and I arrived to find we weren't the first team there like we were the last time I was at Plymouth, skiless like a crazy idiot, back four or five years ago.  Kennett, John Stark, Hopkinton and Plymouth were already there.  I think the only jumpers on the hill when we arrived were the Kennett kids.  Everyone else was still trying to get changed and get their skis off the bus.
I had suited up mostly on the last bit of the drive there so I was pretty much ready to get off the bus when we parked.  I grabbed my skis and a couple of the other Sunapee jumpers followed me back to the jump.  I took a first look and said WOW!  I didn't remember the trestle standing quite that tall the last time I was there.  I had also forgotten the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the inrun was natural without any trestle.  I definitely didn't forget the takeoff.  The takeoff sits only about 6-10 inches above the knoll.  I figured for sure it would make for a hard time telling where the takeoff was at.  I had problems at Vermont Academy the first time I jumped there, several years back, telling where the takeoff was at.  I jumped late every jump.  Vermont Academy has quite a bit more vertical distance between the takeoff and knoll.  Quite a bit more, but it still was less than normal.
After watching one of the Kennett newbie females take her first jump of the evening I walked up the inrun and waited my turn in line.  I got the skis on and stepped over into the track.  I was nervous to say the least.  Thanks to the ankle I didn't know fully what to expect.  I knew I wanted to play it cautiously and try to keep from crashing and maybe doing a lot more harm to the ankle.
I got the signal from one of the coaches and headed down the inrun.  It seemed smooth.  Compared to Lebanon last night it was really smooth.  I put in a bit of a jump at the takeoff.  I think I was somewhat late but not as bad as I figured I would be.  I ended up landing on the knoll as the knoll sticks out quite far down the landing hill before the hill drops away.  I rode the landing hill and about the time I got into the transition I lost it.  I found my sliding nicely across the outrun.  I was a bit surprised and even more so relieved at the same time.  I got up and the next jumper came behind me and then the next one.  I noticed the second one bounce quite nicely going through the transition.  That's when I remembered the previous two visits I had made to Plymouth.  I remembered seeing the kids getting worked in the transition and quite often going down as a result.
I walked back up and waited my turn in line and got the signal.  This time I started down nice and comfortably.  It was the smoothest feeling ride down the inrun I'd had so far this winter.  I jumped at the takeoff.  I was probably late more than likely but not noticeably late to me unlike Vermont Academy several years back.  I landed and rode the landing hill, transition and outrun nice and smooth.  It was a jump I needed real bad tonight.
I walked back up for what I normally end up making the third and final jump before a high school meet.  This time everything seemed fine just like before.  I had better timing and a bit more effort at the takeoff and went a little further.  I still wasn't going much past 11-12 meters.  During the comp most of the kids were either going 8-12 meters or they were going 17-22 meters.  I saw only a handful of the 50-60 jumper during the three rounds of competition land between 12.5 and 16.5 meters.  I rode the landing hill and then got nailed big time by the transition.  I went down with a solid plop right to the left outer butt cheek, right where your wallet would normally sit if you had it in your left rear pocket.  It would be the crash I would feel the rest of the night.
I walked back up the stairs rather slowly.  After stopping to talk with one of the parents I met at the Newport Winter Carnival last year I walked on back to the bus and changed clothes before walking on back to the jump to watch the competition.
I'm hoping I don't end up with a nice black and blue butt cheek come tomorrow morning but it wouldn't surprise if I did.  I think I'll probably stick around Newport tomorrow and help Ron and the kids get the Newport jump ready to jump come next week.  I guess about the only thing that needs work is the bag snow and take it to the top of the inrun.  I guess the lower 2/3rds of the inrun is okay but above there is bare so we're going to have to put snow into bag and take it up the inrun and pack out the inrun.  Gee, this might end up being the second year in a row of jumping at Newport on all natural snow.
Until next time,
Winter 2010
DateLeb 25Plymouth 25Leb 50And 38
Dec 121
Jan 056
Jan 063
Feb 024
Feb 032
Feb 046
Feb 073
Mar 063