Equipment Check: Ski Jumping

Utah Olympic ParkThe following is an excerpt from a NBCOlympics.com article:

Skis: Jumping skis are built specifically for ski jumping hills. The skis can have a maximum length of 146 percent of the total body height of the competitor and follow restrictions on the width, curvature and shape. Jumping skis are very light, but must have a minimum weight conforming to their length, in the ratio of 100 centimeters (39.37 inches) to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).

The length-body weight ratio should not be taken lightly. At the 2006 Torino Games, Japanese ski jumping specialist (and previous Olympic hero) Masahiko Harada was disqualified after the first round of the Normal Hill competition for jumping with skis that were too long. His body weight was found to be 200 grams (less than half a pound) less than permitted.

Bindings: The binding must be mounted parallel to the run-direction and must be placed so that a maximum of 57 percent of the entire ski length is before the bindings. They are meant to unfasten from the boots in case of a fall.

Boots: The boots used in ski jumping are designed to allow the skier to lean forward during the flight. They are high-backed, flexible yet firm with a low cut at the front.

Connection cord: The connection cord, which is part of the binding, attaches the ski to the boot and prevents the skis from wobbling during flight.

Suit: All portions of the ski jumping suit must be made of the same, spongy microfiber material and must show certain air permeability. The thickness of the suit may not exceed 5 millimeters (one-fifth of one inch). The suit must conform to the body’s shape in an upright position, as a loose suit allows for greater resistance and longer flight.

The most common reason for disqualification is having a suit with insufficient air permeability. In Torino, Norwegian jumping specialists Lars Bystoel and Sigurd Pettersen were DQ’d after the first round of the Normal Hill competition for that reason. (Bystoel was later reinstated and went on to win the gold medal.)

Helmet: Full head protection has been compulsory since the 1980’s. The helmet improves aerodynamic flight and protects the head in case of a fall.

Click here to read the entire article.

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