Ski jumping in Holmenkollen

I know what you’re thinking.

First cross-country skiing. Okay, that’s fine. Not too dangerous.

Next Telemark skiing. Slightly more dangerous, but still nothing to be concerned about.

Now ski jumping? She’s lost her mind.

Yeah maybe, except I wasn’t the one ski jumping. I was just watching.

I’m not quite that insane.

This weekend was the 2012 Nordic World Cup at Holmenkollen. Holmenkollen is a neighborhood in Oslo up on the mountain, where there is a ski jump (Holmenkollbakken) and a cross-country skiing area. It’s also one of the most expensive neighbors in Oslo, if not the most expensive one, because it has an astounding view looking over the Oslofjord.

Anyways, back to the 2012 Nordic World Cup. Cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined. The competitions went all through the weekend; however, I only went to today’s events because tickets were a bit expensive. And actually I didn’t even go to all of today’s events because I wanted to sleep in, so I only went to the men’s ski jumping final.

It was so, so cool.

Watching ski jumping on TV is pretty awesome, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person. Being surrounded by countless Norwegian fans with their Norwegian flags, hearing the slapping noise as the skis connect with the ground, seeing all the Polish fans (seriously, am I in Norway or Poland?), and seeing how incredibly tiny the ski jumpers are against the landing hill are all things that cannot be experienced by watching ski jumping on a TV.

Okay well, you might be able to see a bunch of Polish fans on the TV, but it won’t be as funny as when you’re watching ski jumping live in Norway.

First up was the trial round. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the purpose of this round was. Warm-up? No clue. All I know is that the results of this round weren’t important and the fifty skiers flew through the round.

Get it? They flew, because they…

Yeah, nevermind. Let’s rephrase it–they all went through the round incredibly fast.

After this round we were provided with some light entertainment, including live singing and a live marching band. A live marching band who stood on the landing hill and then had to march down all the stairs leading up to the landing hill.

That is one intense marching band. Can you imagine the auditions for the band?

During this time, the landing hill was cleared up a bit. Pine branches are stuck into the hill to provide some measurement, and one section of the hill is marked off with red spray paint. Because all the skiers went through and destroyed this, the spray paint was touched up and the pine debris was cleared away.

It was crazy though because the people who cleared up the landing hill did so on skis.

Again, can you imagine reading the job description for this?

Norwegians, crazy I tell you.

By the way, did you know that ski jumping originates in Norway? Explains a lot, doesn’t it?

After the landing hill was cleaned, another round of ski jumping began. The results of this round actually counted, which meant that this round proceeded a lot more slowly than the previous one. Before the skiers weren’t concerned with wind speed or direction since their results weren’t important. Now, however, the stakes were much higher. Every once in a while we would have to wait a few minutes for the wind conditions to improve before the skiers would go.

Finally, though, we got to skier number forty.

No, not the last skier.

BUT MY FAVORITE SKI JUMPER.

His name is Simon Ammann. He’s Swiss, and he’s absolutely adorable. I just want to give that guy a hug. You might remember him from the last two winter Olympics, since he won two gold medals at both.

He’s a great ski jumper, but most importantly, he seems like a super sweet guy.

There were a few instances today that demonstrated this. After ski jumpers land, they ski to the bottom of the hill until they slow down/stop. They then take their skis off and stand there for a few seconds while they wait to hear their results. Most of the ski jumpers would just stand there and try to ignore the camera that was shoved into their face. Simon, however, turned and waved at the crowd.

He was the only skier I saw do that today.

SO CUTE.

After this happened, he walked up to this little area next to the landing hill. Here the ski jumpers could take off their boots and throw on a jacket or whatever. Simon changed some of his clothes, then he turned around to the crowd and waved to a bunch of people.

Yeah, I was dying.

He did this again after his final jump, at which point I just melted.

I must admit, I creeped on him a fair bit while he was changing clothes/waving to the crowd. WHAT. Don’t judge. He’s just so precious.

The world can never have enough of Simon Ammann and his adorableness.

Anyways, only thirty skiers (out of fifty) advanced after this round. The results of the final round were combined with those of the previous round to determine overall score and placement.

By the way, did you know that length is not the only thing ski jumpers are scored on? I always thought this was the case, but it’s not. Skiers are also scored based on style, and wind conditions are factored into the final score.

Also, fun fact: when ski jumpers land, they do so in the style of Telemark skiing, ie with one foot in front of the other. Yay Telemark!

Again, I sidetracked. The second round was considerably more interesting than the previous round. The wind conditions at one point seemed to be quite bad. In the middle of the round, all the competitors who went had very short jumps and seemed to be struggling to keep their form in the air. It was quite scary at times, since some of the skiers looked as if they might lose control and crash. Thankfully nobody did.

At the end of the day, an Austrian won the competition and a German came in second. Simon Ammann came in fifth, which I was satisfied with.

 < And oh hey, the king and queen of Norway came. No big deal, or anything.

All in all, I took 198 pictures today. That’s just nuts.

And now, I need to go actually do my homework that I’ve been putting off all weekend. Fun stuff.

Bye!

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