Ski jumping 101: Parts of the jump

Olympics: Ski Jumping-Men's Normal Hill

There are three men’s events: the normal hill, the large hill and the team event. There is one women’s event, contested on the normal hill.

The Inrun

Jumpers adopt a natural and relaxed aerodynamic crouch position. In that position, the jumper is coiled, prepared to thrust himself forward at the takeoff. From the time that a jumper receives the green starting signal, he has a 10-second span in which he must begin his jump. Jumpers can strategically wait the full 10 seconds or choose to jump immediately, depending on the wind conditions. The jumper may not use ski poles or similar aids to increase his speed, nor may another person propel him from the start. All those infractions are cause for disqualification.

The Takeoff

The legs solely initiate the takeoff. The skier takes off with a rhythmic, aggressive and quick straightening of the knees and stretching the body. The ankles are locked so that, in the air, the tips of his skis come upward. With the V style, the jumper must spread out his skis quickly in a symmetrical fashion. Timing is extremely important in the takeoff, because an early or late takeoff can reduce distance.

The Flight

Typically, a jumper will be in the air for about five to seven seconds. If faults appear in the first part of the jump but are subsequently corrected so that they no longer exist, the jumper should not be severely penalized as he might have been had the problems persisted throughout his jump.

The Landing

Every jumper is judged on the same criteria for the landing. A proper landing should be accomplished with steadiness, elasticity, and the distance between skis shall not be more than the width of two skis. The landing impact should be absorbed by a Telemark landing – one foot in front of the other with the skies parallel and close together – which allows the jumper to absorb most of the force on his front leg at impact and then distribute his weight evenly on both legs to stabilize himself on the outrun.

The Outrun

The outrun is the flat area at the bottom of the hill where skiers decelerate and stop. The jumper should hold the Telemark landing for 10 to 15 meters. If a jumper is unsteady after the landing because he has made a mistake in flight or in landing, the judges will monitor him until he passes the fall line. If a jumper falls on the outrun prior to the fall line because he has not recovered his balance lost on landing, the jump counts as a fall. If a jumper falls after he has passed the fall line, he will not lose any style points. The jump is over as soon as the jumper has reached the fall line. Thus, the subjective portion of the competition is judged from the takeoff to the fall line.