Youth Ski Jumping at the Utah Olympic Park

Here is a video of kids ski jumping at our venue. They are enrolled in our sport development  programs.

Billy Demong leads U.S. team into Nordic combined opener today in Finland

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at theskichannel.com:

From the top of the towering jump scaffold at the Ruka ski area north of Kuusamo, you can see all the way to Russia. Well, it’s just 30 miles away. The frigid land of mid-day sunset will be the scene Friday of the International Ski Federation’s nordic combined opener as Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong leads a four-man U.S. contingent to the gateway of Lapland.

“I feel good about it this year,” said Demong. “We’ve been strategic in our preparation and this is the one of the best group of four guys we’ve ever brought to Kuusamo.”

It wasn’t easy getting there, but team finally made it to Kuusamo after a successful tune-up camp in the Olympic village of Lillehammer, Norway. After flying Oslo to Stockholm to Helsinki to Kuusamo, or, actually, rerouting to Oulu over 200 kilometers away, it was like a homecoming. The opener has been held in Kuusamo every November since 2002, although the Americans strategically skipped the event a year ago.

“We made it!,” tweeted Demong. “Home sweet Ruka Hovi! Seems nice, not too cold, snowing lightly. Could it be a new Ruka?”

The Ruka ski resort, also home of the freestyle moguls opener in a few weeks, is north of the Finnish city of Kuusamo – the gateway to Lapland. Kuusamo is situated just south of the Arctic Circle and only about 30 miles as a reindeer would run through the frozen lakes to Russia.

“The weather is fantastic here – maybe a bit cold – but it’s clear and I’m seeing mountains I never knew were there before,” said Demong.

The ski hill at Ruka pops up like a bump on the frozen tundra. The jump hill is on top with the cross country trails running around the base, up and down the hill. It’s one of the toughest jumping hills on the circuit and most challenging cross country courses.

“Ruka has always been a big wakeup call for us,” said Demong. Kuusamo hasn’t been all that kind to the USA over the years. Demong and Spillane split podiums in 2007 and Lodwick scored a pair in 2004.

Click here to read the entire article.

2002: Americans make great Nordic strides in Utah

The following is an excerpt from an article published at ESPN.com on February 24, 2002:

For the U.S. Nordic skiing teams, close counts, fourth-place finishes are fantastic and best showings ever are cause for celebration. These Americans aren’t quite ready to measure success with medals.

“That day will come,” cross-country skier Justin Wadsworth said.

Maybe soon.

The U.S. Nordic skiing program, which includes biathlon, cross-country and Nordic combined, enjoyed its top Olympic performance in 26 years at the Salt Lake City Games. And it didn’t even medal.

“I don’t think any of us would tell you that we came here just to race and to compete in the Olympics,” biathlete Rachel Steer said. “We really needed to raise the bar, and I think we did. But we’re not satisfied. Hopefully that will drive us through the next four years of training.”

And possibly put them on the podium in 2006.

The United States failed to medal in five Olympic sports at these games: curling, ski jumping and the three Nordic skiing disciplines. The Americans were shut out at Soldier Hollow.

But the Nordic skiing teams had several breakthrough performances on the men’s side, and the athletes hope those results will help propel the programs into the world’s elite group — and into medal contention.

“The men’s teams had huge, huge results,” Steer said. “That’s what we need (kids) to see. If they see it, then we can raise interest and that will give us promise for the future.”

The women fared much worse. Steer had the highest biathlon finish, 31st, and Nina Kemppel had the best cross country finish, 17th.

“(The men) definitely have a head start on us as far as development, but we’re looking really strong for four years from now,” cross-country skier Barbara Jones said. “Eight years from now, I think we can be in the medals. I really believe that.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Waiting for their shot

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at ParkRecord.com:

It’s all in the hands of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge now.

Women ski jumpers across the globe must continue down the familiar road of wait-and-see after the IOC announced Monday in Acapulco, Mexico, that women’s ski jumping is on the fast track to being accepted as an Olympic sport, but must wait for the official decision in the spring of 2011.

For now, whether women will be flying high for a shot at an Olympic medal in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, is still up in the air.
The IOC announced that it needs a more in-depth look at each sport waiting for Olympic approval, but as a spokesman said via live teleconference call that things looked “favorable” for women’s ski jumping.

Six Olympic hopefuls huddled around a table at the Utah Olympic Park Monday hoping to hear some good news; Deedee Corradini, president of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, who sat anxiously with team members and other associates, was pleased with the outcome.

“I think this is a huge win for us,” Corradini said. “It’s exactly what we were hoping for, from what we’ve been hearing from our sources over the last week or so. It’s very positive.”

Rogge, who has been given the final say in the matter, announced that his final decision will come down after the ski jumping World Championships in late February 2011 in Oslo, Norway.

He mentioned that he wanted to see how the sport has progressed, and was adamant about making an informed decision by the end of April.

Reigning world champion Lindsey Van of Park City didn’t mince words when asked what her initial reaction to the IOC decision is.

“(I’m) not surprised,” Van said. “It gives them more time to look. I feel confident, but I don’t expect anything. It’s just a game I don’t want to play.”

Click here to read the entire article.

USASJ Athletes Make Final Preparations Before Snow Flies

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at skiracing.com:

With winter on the cusp and the trees nearly bare of autumnal leaves, the ski jumping men of the USASJ program are putting their finishing touches on their plastic jump training and dryland conditioning efforts.

Following his win—with a new hill record in Lake Placid—Peter Frenette, is continuing his training currently based out of the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Lake Placid. USASJ coaches report that he continues to nurse a little soreness in his groin, following an injury earlier this year, and is receiving help from the OTC staff.

New Hampshire jumpers Nick Alexander and Nick Fairall are also still in Lake Placid continuing jump training on the Olympic jumps at Intervale.

Jumpers Mike Glasder and two-time US Olympian Anders Johnson returned home to Park City, UT from training in Lake Placid to continue preparations and await the snow on the jumps at Utah Olympic Park.

Team jumper Chris Lamb continues to ply his efforts for the winter based out of Trondheim, Norway. There he has been competing against many of Norway’s top fliers. During the off-season, Lamb took part in a FIS Cup in Falun, SWE and the Norwegian National Championships in Trondheim. FIS Cup events are the third highest-ranking events following COC’s and World Cups. At the Norwegian nationals he turned in some solid performances.

Lamb wrote recently,“ In the championships on the large hill, I had caught a groove and made two of my best jumps this summer. After the first round I was in 8th position with a jump of 127 meters. It was a great feeling as I had jumped into the top of the field among some of the world’s best.”

His 2nd ride was good for 121m and he finished in a “very satisfying 12th place”.

Click here to read the entire article.

Demong going for 2014

The following is an excerpt from a blog posted at TeamUSA.org:

Billy Demong has had a busy summer. The Olympic gold medalist has balanced speaking engagements, bike racing, home renovation, and a July wedding to fiancé Katie Kocnyzski, whom he proposed to the evening after winning gold in February.

With only a few miles on his bike-racing legs, he did four major stage races on his bike, plus a criterium (where he finished 16th, eight places behind Olympic biathlete Jeremy Teela).

But until recently, Demong hadn’t done much training for Nordic combined.

“Ultimately this became the year to catch up on life,” he said via email. “I did not need a break from training, just needed the time training takes to do other things. I can train all day everyday and love it, and I can work all day everyday and love that too!”

His main project was gutting and rebuilding his house in Park City — without much outside help.

But after competing in the Tour of Utah, a six-day bike race held in mid-August on roads around Salt Lake City and won this year by Levi Leipheimer, Demong dove back into full-time training for Nordic combined.

Why?

Because he wants to compete for four more years — to help the up-and-coming U.S. Nordic combined athletes develop into world-class competitors, and to defend his gold medal in the large hill in Sochi in 2014.

“Aside from the odd couple days here or there manufacturing and installing some concrete countertops, I’ve mostly been able to train daily since the Tour of Utah,” he said.

His plan, he says, is “to start the season swinging for the fences” in the first four World Cups. Then after a mid-winter break, he plans to “hammer down at Worlds.”

As for the six months he took off from training this past spring and summer, he says that he already feels more motivated.

“I can already say that this little break really is helping me mentally start building the desire to go for four more and be even better.”

Click here to read the entire article.

USA Ski Jumpers Enjoy Strong Weekend In Falun

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at skiracing.com:

Following a weekend of FIS Cup ski jumping in the well-know nordic village of Falun, Sweden, the USA jumping men turned in some strong results to keep the pre-season going upon even keel. In Saturday’s day one comp, the USA lead with a second-place finish from Peter Frenette, and a fourth from Anders Johnson, both members of the 2010 USA Olympic Ski Jumping Team. Incredibly, a trio of American jumpers: Mike Glasder, Nick Fairall and Chris Lamb were all tied for seventh place. In a day that saw rain shower’s blanket the area, the USA also scored Alex Haupt in 17th and Will Rhoads in 26th. USASJ coach Casey Colby said that despite the results for Frenette, he is still suffering the effects of his crash last week in Norway.

“Pete felt like he had two average jumps, but with his groin still sore from Norway, he felt it restricts his in-run position and really effects his V-style,” said Colby.

The dawn of Sunday was clear and cold with a hint of shifting winds. Frenette lead the way for the Yanks by grabbing a skilled victory, with his first round jump, landing at an eye-pleasing 104 meters, on the K-90, Hill Size HS 98. He had the longest jump by six meters of the entire event, and landed a strong telemark on both jumps. Frenette won both rounds on Sunday. Park City’s Anders Johnson soared to a second place finish overall.

Click here to read the entire article.

Cycling has grown on Olympic skier

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at deseretnews.com:

Bill Demong’s introduction to cycling came through eBay.

About five years ago, the Olympic gold medalist was selling a ski racing suit. The man who bought it was an avid cyclist from Colorado.

“It was the one thing I’ve ever sold on eBay,” said Demong, who made history six months ago when he won the country’s first gold medal in nordic combined in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Demong was one of hundreds of elite cyclists competing in the Tour of Utah this past week.

As a member of the Cole Sport Team (a Park City company), Demong wasn’t looking to win any medals. But the fact that a nordic combined skier can “hang with these guys” gives him an edge — mentally and physically — when he heads back out onto the World Cup courses in the winter.

What could have been a simple business transaction developed into a friendship. Jim Dunlap, of Fort Collins, bought the suit, and continued to keep track of Demong’s career. He suggested that they swap ski stuff for bike gear.

Dunlap even showed up at Nordic Combined National Championships in Steamboat Springs to root for Demong. Dunlap, who cycles despite battling multiple sclerosis, eventually convinced Demong he could compete in the sport.

“He’s the one that talked me into trying racing,” said Demong.

In 2006, he entered his first race at Dunlap’s urging. When Bill Demong arrives at a nordic combined World Cup course, he is a contender. Everyone knows him; everyone expects him to compete. In fact, he is known as one of nordic combined’s fastest cross-country skiers.

At his first cycling race, he enjoyed the anonymity that comes from being the new guy.

“I didn’t know anybody,” he said after Tuesday’s first time trial. “I got addicted.”

Eventually, however, he improved and moved up the ranks. Two years ago when he was riding with American Racers Against Drugs and Doping, he competed in 55 cycling races and about 30 roller ski events.

“That was the year I skied the fastest,” he said.

Last year he dialed down the cycling in anticipation of the 2010 Olympics, and he began riding with Cole Sport. He said finding time to train for the summer’s cycling events post-Olympics has been difficult.

After winning the first U.S. medal (a silver) in nordic combined, which is a sport that combines ski jumping with cross-country ski racing, in the team relay, Demong went on to win the country’s first gold medal in the sport.

Click here to read the entire article.

Recap: Park City hosts nordic championships in dead of summer

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at parkrecord.com:

While fans baked in the hot summer sun, Park City’s Brett Camerota and Lindsey Van had ice in their veins during last weekend’s U.S. Nordic Championships at Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow.

Van won both women’s jumping events on the K90 and the K120 jumps for her 14th and 15th national titles, while Camerota scored a U.S. Nordic Combined Championship to go with runner-up finishes on the men’s normal- and large-hill ski jumps. U.S. Olympic ski jumper Peter Frenette, from New York, won both men’s jumping competitions.

In nordic combined, athletes are scored for performances in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing. In the individual gundersen scoring system, an athlete’s result in the jumping round determines his starting position in the cross-country round. In summer competitions, athletes use roller skis for the cross-country round.

Camerota, a silver medalist in Vancouver in the nordic combined team relay, said he wanted to finish on the podium in all three of the weekend’s events, but he wasn’t expecting to win anything. “I’ve jumped better than them in a World Cup,” he said of U.S. teammates Billy Demong and Todd Lodwick, “but I’ve never beat them in a full competition.”

That all changed on Sunday evening at Soldier Hollow, when he held onto a 21-second lead he earned with a huge K120 jump of 134 meters. Lodwick, a strong cross-country performer in World Cup events and reigning nordic combined world champion on the normal hill, started 1:14 back in third for the roller-ski portion, but caught Brett’s twin brother Eric from 53 seconds down by the second lap.

Olympic and world large-hill champion Bill Demong also caught Eric Camerota to take third, no small achievement considering Demong has been racing on his bike for Cole Sport and told the U.S. Ski Team (USST) he hasn’t roller skied much this summer.

For his part, Spillane tore his ACL and MCL while jumping off a cliff in Lake Placid, N.Y., and will begin rehabilitating soon, according to a release from USST.

Eric Camerota, Brett’s twin, took fourth in all three events. He injured his knee a year ago at the Park City Nordic Ski Club’s (PCNSC) Festival of Flight summer ski-jumping event, causing him to miss out on an Olympic run. “He was bummed, because it would have been nice to at least get on one podium,” said Brett.

Many of the team’s younger members have been training locally since the Olympics, Brett Camerota said, while the older, more family-oriented Lodwick, Demong, and triple Olympic silver medalist Johnny Spillane “do their own thing.”

“After the Olympics was over, it felt different in training,” he said. “I took confidence from the Olympics and put it into the training, and really started to trust the training.”

The Camerota twins have been perfecting their form with Olympic ski jumpers Anders Johnson and Frenette in recent months. Brett said Frenette has “a little bit of an edge,” among the four of them, but they are very close.

Brett Camerota conceded that Sunday’s nordic combined event favored a strong jumper, putting the win within reach for the former PCNSC member. A typical 10K in the winter lasts about 25 minutes, while Sunday’s lasted only 21. “I’m still skiing pretty well,” he said. “Todd’s definitely faster. I held them off just enough, though.”

Unlike Brett Camerota, collecting a national title was a familiar experience for Van. Still, she relished the rare opportunity to compete on her training grounds.

“I’m in school right now, so that was extra nice,” said the University of Utah exercise sports science major. “Everybody jumped quite well. It was really close and competitive. I think the team is looking really strong.”

Click here to read the entire article.

THIS WEEKEND: Olympians to put on ski jump show

The following is an excerpt from an article published at oregonlive.com:

America’s Olympic and World Championship medalist athletes are ready to put on a show on the Olympic venues in Park City. The Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow will combine as the site of the U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships, set for July 30-Aug. 1. It’s the third year the traditionally wintertime event has held its annual championships in the summertime.

The U.S. Ski Team’s four Olympic medalists including Olympic champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.), World Champions Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Olympic silver medalist Brett Camerota (Park City) will highlight the field, competing in both the ski jumping and nordic combined championships.

The summer Championships have been held the last two years in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y. Now the scene shifts to the 2002 Olympic venues for a late July weekend extravaganza. The move also puts two jumps back onto the schedule with both K90 and K120 plastic jumps available, which allows athletes to ski jump sans snow on a plastic surface, at the Utah Olympic Park.

”The summer events have been a great showcase for our sport and these amazing athletes,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Nordic Director John Farra. “The athletes love competing here and it’s a major test for them to go head-to-head on the Olympic venues.”

Competition kicks off Friday morning with the U.S. Ski Jumping Championship for men and women on the K90 Olympic jump. The trial jump begins at 9 a.m., followed by two competition rounds. Nick Alexander (Lebanon, N.H.) and Jessica Jerome (Park City) are the defending U.S. champions, winning in Lake Placid a year ago.

Among the favorites in the jump will be two-time Olympian Anders Johnson (Park City), who grew up skiing at the Utah Olympic Park.

Sunday, the K120 big hill will be on tap for jumping, along with the official U.S. Nordic Combined Championship. Jumping will begin at 9 a.m. with ski jumping titles on the line for men and women. The nordic combined finale will shift down to the paved roller ski trails of Soldier Hollow near Midway with a 6 p.m. start for the 10km title round. Lodwick is the defending U.S. champion.

Click here to read the entire article.