NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2017

Contact: Alex Glueck, Field Marketing & Communications Manager
Phone: 970-846-5936
Email: alex@usanordic.org
Website: usanordic.org

First Women’s Nordic Combined US National Championships Confirmed

Park City, Utah -US Ski & Snowboard excitedly announced that the inaugural Women’s Nordic Combined National Championships will be contested in Lake Placid, NY alongside their male counterparts on October 7th, 2017.

The announcement comes on the heels of a week of discussions at the USA Nordic spring meetings that included the importance of the addition of Women’s Nordic Combined. The timing coincides with international initiatives in the sport, like the inclusion of Women’s Nordic Combined on the upcoming seasons of the FIS Continental Cup schedule.

The addition of the Women’s event to national and international calendars has definitely been a goal for USA Nordic; “We are committed to keeping up and, to the best of our resources, staying ahead of the world as this event makes its debut at the senior level,” said USA Nordic’s Executive Director Billy Demong.

Demong, known as a pioneer in his own right as America’s first (and to date, only) Olympic Gold Medalist in Nordic Skiing, went on to note that “This is an opportunity that we are fully behind. We know that other nations will begin to turn on their funding and that when this becomes an Olympic event everyone will spend resources we can not match. Right now we have the opportunity and responsibility to take athletes like Tara Geraghty-Moats and Gabby Armstrong and develop them into leaders in the sport. It is our job to continue to innovate and support them so that they can lead Women’s Nordic Combined into the future with our crop of upcoming juniors.”

On the news of the sport becoming an official event at U.S. National Championship’s, athletes were ecstatic. Armstrong noted, “I thought I was excited when women’s Ski Jumping was added to the Olympic program, but the progress women’s Nordic Combined has made over the last few years adds a whole new level of excitement for me. I have been training for Nordic Combined since I was ten years old, but have mostly had to compete in Ski Jumping and Cross Country racing as separate sports. I’m just in awe that the sport has come this far; I look forward to jumping and racing with US girls at Nationals!”

Moats shared her long awaited enthusiasm and desire to help lead saying, “For me, the addition of Women’s Nordic Combined to Nationals is proof that if you do what you love with heart, people will notice, and support it. I have always done Nordic Combined but never been able to compete internationally or nationally. I’m so honored to have the USA Nordic community’s support. It will be a dream come true to help develop Women’s Nordic Combined and compete in it.”

USA Nordic is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2014. Our mission is to promote and develop the Nordic disciplines of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in the United States; assist U.S. athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, World Championship and other international competitions in the disciplines; and to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship, fair play, and good will between individuals of all nations through competition in the discipline sports. For more information, contact info@usanordic.org.

USA Nordic Honored at Annual USSA Awards Ceremony

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2017

Contact: Alex Glueck, Field Marketing & Communications Manager
Phone: 970-846-5936
Email: alex@usanordic.org
Website: usanordic.org

USA Nordic Honored at Annual USSA Awards Ceremony

PARK CITY, UT – USA Nordic Sport was honored to be presented with the Russell Wilder Award in recognition of service to youth at the recent USSA annual awards ceremony held in Park City, UT. It was the highlight of the night at an event that included recognition for many individuals and organizations in the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined community.

USA Nordic Sport is a non-profit that is focused on the growth and development of the disciplines of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in the US. From humble but ambitious beginnings, USA Nordic Sport has grown into the primary force driving and directing Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined throughout the country. The award reflects a renewed effort, especially at the club level, to increase the growth of the nordic sports.

“I am really proud to lead an organization that has taken sports like Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping that were struggling nationally at the youth level to recruit and retain athletes and, over the past nearly decade, have turned everything around, doubling youth participation in programs and engaging our clubs and communities in a way that makes kids and parents feel part of something bigger,” said Executive Director Bill Demong. “It’s an honor for all of us to be recognized by US Ski and Snowboard for our hard work and efforts to develop opportunities for youth in ski jumping sports by receiving the Russell Wilder Award.”

But the award represents more than just a win for USA Nordic. The recognition for service to youth is really recognition of the effort being put in at the club level and is an honor that can be shared by athletes, coaches, and parents alike.

“It is an honor for USA Nordic to be recognized for all the work that so many great people have been doing the last few years to promote and grow the sports of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined,” observed Jed Hinkley, Sport Development Director at USA Nordic. “There is lot of positive energy at the club level and we have such a great community, which is why the future is looking bright.”

USA Nordic, which is the latest iteration of a project that has been ongoing for nearly a decade, owes its recent successes to years of groundwork laid by some of the original founders of the organization, Jim Holland and Alan Johnson. Holland and Johnson were among the initial supporters of Project X, which began with the vision of funding a ski jumping national team. Over the years, the organization has grown to include multiple teams for both disciplines, as well as coaches and support staff. However, even though the sports have seen a positive trend over the past several years at the national level, there remains a sense of urgency and focus on the club level that has really driven the direction of USA Nordic.

Holland’s response to the award reiterated the shift in focus towards youth, and the growth that USA Nordic has undergone to become an all encompassing organization: “The Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined community has really come together over the past several years to grow the sports and to create unique opportunities for kids. It’s great to see that being recognized and on a personal level, I have to say it’s been really fun and rewarding to pay it forward and to help kids build character, confidence and courage.”

“It’s very humbling for USANS to receive such a high honor and recognition from the USSA our governing body,” added Alan Johnson. “It is also a vote of confidence that we are on-track and will continue to strive for success in the direction we have chosen.”

While the Russell Wilder Award certainly represented a proud moment for USA Nordic, it was only one of a slew of awards handed out to ambassadors of the nordic sports. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) was honored to be recognized as the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined USSA Club of the Year.

“The SSWSC SJ/NC family is excited and honored to receive this award. It’s a true testament to a group of dedicated and hard working administrators, coaches, parents and athletes, all working together and committed to our mission of ‘creating champions on and off the mountain,’” said SSWSC Program Director Todd Wilson. “Two years ago we made a shift in focus from post-grad programming and high end events to youth development, coaches’ education, and recruiting new members. Our numbers grew by 20% last year and being recognized nationally by this award gives us confidence that we made the right adjustment and are headed in the right direction.”

Wilson’s sentiments about the shift in focus towards youth development echo those of the leadership at USA Nordic.

And, of course, while many awards were given out to the organizations, it wouldn’t be right if a few athletes didn’t get to take home some hardware as well. Kevin Bickner was recognized as the USSA Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year and Stephen Schumann took home the title of USSA Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year.

Even after coming off his best season, which included setting the new American Distance Record at 244.5 meters, Kevin was eager to point out the successes of his teammates: “We’ve had several guys fly over 200 meters: Casey Larson, Mike Glasder, and Will Rhoads have all gotten personal bests.”

Schumann, on the other hand, recognized a few different teammates: “I want to say thanks to my parents, especially for driving me up the canyon from Salt Lake every day for 10 years. Pretty impressive.”

USA Nordic is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to promote and develop the Nordic disciplines of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in the United States; assist U.S. athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, World Championship and other international competitions in the disciplines; and to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship, fair play, and good will between individuals of all nations through competition in the discipline sports. For more information, contact info@usanordic.org.

###

 

USA Nordic Head Coach Dave Jarrett to Retire After 15 Years with Team

PARK CITY, UT (May 1, 2017) – Veteran U.S. Ski Team nordic combined coach Dave Jarrett, who led the team to heights of glory at World Championships and Olympics, is retiring after 15 years as a national team coach. Jarrett, a two-time Olympian who is now USA Nordic’s head coach of nordic combined, is leaving the tour to open a sports training center in his hometown of Heber City, UT.

Jarrett was a U.S. Ski Team athlete from 1992 through 1998, competing in two Olympics and three World Championships. He retired in 1998 and spent several years coaching cross country skiing at the University of Colorado. He moved to Utah after graduation, starting the first team program at Soldier Hollow in 2000 and then began a long tenure as a national team coach. He worked on the Continental Cup tour in 2002 and being elevated to head coach in 2008.

During his tenure the team has seen its best results ever produced, including the first-ever U.S. Olympic medals in the sport of nordic combined in Vancouver in 2010. The team won an unprecedented four medals, including one gold and a team event silver, in Vancouver. A year earlier at the World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, the USA also won four medals including two golds from Todd Lodwick and another from Billy Demong as the Americans swept every individual title. All told, Jarrett played a role in 11 Olympic and World Championship medals won between 2003 and 2013.

Being on the road as a coach for a decade and a half can be grueling. Jarrett was philosophical in talking about his time spent with the team and what kept him coaching for so many years. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I liked seeing progress, I liked seeing the athletes come to training motivated every day.”

When asked if there was a single moment or memory that stood out above the others, Jarrett said: “It’s easy to count the major wins. But I’m  more proud of all the time in between, when athletes were rising through the ranks. All of the firsts are always good days.” Jarrett was widely acknowledged for his role in U.S. nordic combined.

“DJ and I worked for nearly 20 years together in various capacities from Olympic teammates in 1998 to being coached by him at the 2010 Games,” said Olympic champion Demong, who now heads up USA Nordic. “I have tremendous respect for his track record of pioneering new training methods and continually seeking new ideas from other sports and nations and it is without a doubt his innovative approach that led us to winning America’s first medals nordic combined. We thank him for all the invaluable leadership he brought to our program and wish him the very best moving into new opportunities!”

“It’s always gratifying to see athletes, like Dave Jarrett, give back for so many years,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Executive Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. “DJ was able to build on the platform that was established over many years to lead USA nordic combined to its greatest success ever.”

Amidst all of his own achievements as a coach, Jarrett said that “seeing the return of former athletes, such as Bill Demong and Jed Hinkley, committed to keeping the sport of nordic combined going” was one of the things he was most proud of.

 

After 15 years working with so many different coaches and athletes, Jarrett said there would be

“too many people to name, but thank you to all of the athletes, all the coaches, and

all the supporters that have been a part of the program and enabled us to achieve

what we’ve been able to achieve.”

 

Jarrett will be putting his extensive coaching knowledge to work moving forward, opening an Athletic Republic franchise in his hometown of Heber City. The focus will be on speed and agility for those looking to make gains and improvements in their specific sports. But Jarrett was clear that the programs are designed for all athletes, all levels, all ages, and all genders. The new center is expected to open later this summer.

 

Jarrett lives in Heber City with his wife, Kelly, and two children, Jack and Lala. USA Nordic expects to make an announcement in the near future of its coaching alignment going into the Olympic season.

 

DAVE JARRETT – KEY COACHING MILESTONES

 

USSA Coaching Awards

2007 – USSA International Jumping/Nordic Combined Coach of the Year

2009 – USSA International Jumping/Nordic Combined Coach of the Year

2010 – USSA International Jumping/Nordic Combined Coach of the Year

2010 – USSA International Overall Coach of the Year

2015 – USSA International Jumping/Nordic Combined Coach of the Year

 

Athletic Results

2013 Nordic World Championships – Val di Fiemme, Italy

Bronze – Team Event (Taylor Fletcher, Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick, Bill Demong)

 

2010 Olympic Winter Games – Vancouver

Gold – Billy Demong (large hill)

Silver – Johnny Spillane (normal hill)

Silver – Johnny Spillane (large hill)

Silver – Team Event (Brett Camerota, Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, Bill Demong)

 

2009 Nordic World Championships – Liberec, Czech Republic

Gold – Todd Lodwick (mass start)

Gold – Todd Lodwick (normal hill)

Gold – Billy Demong (large hill)

Bronze – Billy Demong (normal hill)

 

2007 Nordic World Championships – Sapporo, Japan

Silver – Billy Demong (normal hill)

 

2003 Nordic World Championships – Val di Fiemme, Italy

Gold – Johnny Spillane (sprint)

 

World Cup (2002-03 through 2016-17 seasons)

11 World Cup wins

38 World Cup podiums

USA Nordic is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2014. Our mission is to promote and develop the Nordic disciplines of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in the United States; assist U.S. athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, World Championship and other international competitions in the disciplines; and to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship, fair play, and good will between individuals of all nations through competition in the discipline sports. For more information, contact info@usanordic.org

 

Tom Kelly and Alex Glueck contributed to this release

USA Nordic Expands Junior National Teams

For Immediate Release: April 26, 2017

Park City, UT: USA Nordic is excited to announce the expansion of the Ski Jumping Junior National Team and the addition of a Junior National Team for Nordic Combined.  These changes reflect our efforts to further develop our pipeline of talented individuals giving them the best opportunities at age appropriate levels to develop into world class athletes.

Athletes Meeting the Criteria:
Ski Jumping
  • Trevor Edlund
  • Decker Dean
  • Nate Mattoon
  • Patrick Gasienica
  • Ben Kaiser
  • Andrew Urlaub
  • Hunter Gibson
  • Matt White
Nordic Combined
  • Koby Vargas
  • Elija Vargas
  • Jared Shumate
  • Tucker Hoefler
  • Beckett Ledger
  • Aiden Ripp
  • Evan Nichols
  • Brendan Andrews

(Not all athletes have decided to participate)

This is a step in the right direction in terms of recognition, improved communication, and continuity between the national team and clubs in an effort to support up and coming athletes. At the same time we recognize that there are still many improvements that need to be made in the years to come with regards to sport and athlete development, but we feel that we are headed in the right direction.

To go along with these newly expanded and formed Junior Nationals Teams, USA Nordic will also be holding National Development Camps prior to the Fourth of July competition in Steamboat Springs, CO and the Flaming Leaves competition in Lake Placid, NY.  In coming years we hope to expand our number of National Development Camps.  Junior National Team athletes and some additional up-and-coming elite juniors will be invited to these camps using criteria that is still being developed, so stay tuned.

It is also our goal to improve the pathway for coaches and expand our coaching base.  Any club coach with an athlete on the Junior National Team will be invited to attend these National Development Camps and work with national team coaches assuming that they have met the criteria set for by USA Nordic, which will include membership and coaches education.

Congratulations to all athletes, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to improve our system of developing the best athletes in the world.

###

USA Nordic Spring Summit Schedule

Tuesday May 9th (Board Members and USA Nordic Staff Only)

All meetings on Tuesday will be held in the Bryce Room

  • 1:00-2:15 Nominating and Governance – Robin Outwater
  • 2:30-3:45 Culture working group – Billy Demong, Clint Jones, & Jed Hinkley
  • 4:00-5:15 Fundraising Committee – Billy and Demong & Hans Berend
  • 5:30-6:30 Executive Committee – Kevin McAllister

Wednesday May 10th

  • 8:30-9:45 Finance Committee – TBD (Bryce Room)
  • 8:30-9:45 Coaches Education working group – Jed Hinkley & Clint Jones (Canyonlands Room)
  • 10:00-11:15 US Cup Sub-committee – Jed Hinkley & Guy Larson (Bryce Room)
  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:45-2:00 Calendar Sub-committee – Alan Johnson & Jed Hinkley (Canyonlands Room)
  • 2:15-3:45 – Strategic Planning working group – Billy Demong (Canyonlands Room)
  • 4:00-6:30 – Sport Development working group – Jed Hinkley (Canyonlands Room)
  • 7:00-10:00 USA Nordic Dinner and State of the Union Billy Demong (White Pine Rotunda)

Thursday May 11th

Note:USSA Sessions (in italics) will be held at a separate location

  • 7:30-8:00 USSA Keynote Address – Tiger Shaw
  • 8:15-9:45 Comp Committee – Rex Bell & Jed Hinkley (Bryce Room)
  • 10:00-11:45 Membership Committee – Jed Hinkley (Bryce Room)
  • 11:45-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-1:30 USSA Branding Q&A – Tiger Shaw
  • 1:00-5:00 Jumping/NC Judges and Officials – Paul Jastrow (TBD)
  • 4:00-5:30 USANS BOD meeting (Bryce Room)
  • 6:00-7:30 Website/Community Resource Working Group – Jed Hinkley & Clint Jones (TBD)
  • 5:15-6:00 FIS Caucus
  • 6:00-6:50 USSA Chairman’s Award Dinner Reception
  • 7:00-10:00 USSA Chairman’s Award Dinner
  • 7:30 USA Nordic Social, location TBD

Friday May 12th

  • 7:00-8:00 USSA Athletes Council Breakfast meeting
  • 8:00-12:00 USSA-Jumping/Nordic Combined – Martina Lussi

                          USSA Coaches sub committee – Rex Bell

  • 5:10-5:40 USSA Sport Committee Chairman meet with Tiger Shaw

Nine Seconds to Glory

Plastic in February? At Junior Nationals Championships?….Yep! And it was great!

Two weeks ago, for the first time ever, the Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, IL hosted Junior National Championships, which in an of itself is kind of hard to believe. And for the first time ever, a Junior National Championships was held in the winter competition season on plastic. I think there are two ways of looking at this: a scary indicator of what the future of our sport could look like, or the amazing ability of our sport to adapt and a huge benefit that we have over other skiing disciplines. We can hold a winter competition when there is no snow. How amazing is that!

This season was almost the Jekyll and Hyde of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined when it comes to weather. While Park City got pounded with snow, and people were frustrated with constantly having to pull snow off the hills, Central and East saw temperatures surpass 60 and even 70 degrees, and of course the rains came as they always do. This made hill preparation hard on both ends of the spectrum, which is a real concern in a sport that relies so heavily on volunteers for so many tasks including hill preparation. Ford Sayre, Andover, and Salisbury were able to persevere and hold their comps due to snowmaking, but the Lebanon K48 fell victim to weather, and Gunstock and Lake Placid were forced to cancel meets. Lake Placid actually had to cancel two meets. In the Midwest, Minneapolis also had to cancel their meet in February.

Now, many readers may be waiting in anticipation of whether I am going to utter two big words…and yes, I am. The majority of humanity believes that climate change is happening, and I am one of them. However, I see this as an opportunity for Ski Jumping not as the downfall of Ski Jumping. If we can adapt and put plastic on more hills, we have a largely climate change/weatherproof sport, in many ways. And already clubs are doing very innovative things to make it easier on the people preparing the hills.

  • Alaska skied a steel track to snow landing hill all winter long, making inrun prep easier.
  • Iola has skied steel track for years and may have been one of the first to do this.
  • Coleraine put rails on top of their porcelain track, so they can just put an inch of snow in the tracks, water the track down, and voila, and ice track.
  • Eau Clair has made the width of the area to snow on the inrun much narrower and now has a refrigeration system on Silvermine.
  • Salisbury is planning on replicating the inrun of Eau Claire minus the refrigeration.
  • Steamboat skied porcelain to snow on the HS75 and 45.
  • Both Steamboat and Park City have inrun covers, which makes snow removal easier for those big dumps.
  • And Lake Placid now skis porcelain to snow on a regular basis.

All these adaptations make it easier to prepare hills. Junior Nationals was just the next step of actually skiing plastic in the winter, and I applaud Norge for making the call and deciding to pull the snow off the hill rather than cancel. It ended up being a great event with a new “Plastic Hill Record” (not winter) set by Decker Dean, and there were lots of great jumps. Another awesome feature was the Elimination Jump, which used athletes previous jumps to create a handicap, and then athletes jumped head to head in a NCAA Basketball tournament style bracket, where the winner was not necessarily the longer jump because of the handicap. This gave a much greater group of athletes a chance to win, which is more inclusive and fun!

Thank you to all the organizers for putting on a great event and for all the hard work that went into the week. I am sure that lots of folks were pulling their hair out over the weather, but in my opinion the event was a huge success and shows was is possible. It has not been mentioned in this article yet, but also a big thank you to Matt Laue and Guy Larson for pulling off an excellent Nordic Combined event at Wilmot Mountain with a fantastic course and very good conditions. Nordic Combined is more of a challenge than jumping with no snow, but alpine areas with great snowmaking are a huge bonus and an awesome resource.

I am excited that clubs are figuring out ways to make their competitions happen despite the weather, and we need to keep innovating as we move forward.

Jed Hinkley

Lake Placid’s Armstrong leads USA in Trondheim FIS Youth Cup Nordic Combined

For immediate release:

Gabby Armstrong of Lake Placid skied the fastest time of the day in the FIS Nordic Combined Youth Cup in Nordic Combined to finish on the podium in 2nd Place!

For the boys event, Stephen Schumann of Park City finished 4th with Lake Placid’s Beckett Ledger in 9th and Elijah Vargas of Steamboat in 10th.  Aiden Ripp of Cloquet finished 17th after throwing down the 6th best time of the day. 

Full Results can be found here:

http://emitliveserver.cloudapp.net/binary/reskomb140317pte.PDF

To stay connected with all of the USA Nordic Combined athletes, please visit www.usanordic.org and subscribe to our newsletter!

USA Nordic is the leadership organization for USA Nordic Combined and USA Ski Jumping and is based in Park City, Utah.

Ski Jumping in Cameron Exemplifies the State of Our Sport in America

Ski Jumping in Cameron Exemplifies the State of Our Sport in America

Ok folks, if you ever hear anyone say that ski jumping is a dying sport, please politely correct them, and say “Excuse me, but you are 100% WRONG! It is actually quite the opposite.” This is not fake news, and I wanted to take this chance to make sure people are up-to-date on what is happening across the country.

Our first example of progress is the newly formed Cameron Flying Eagles Ski Jumping Club in Cameron, Wisconsin. I should correct myself in saying it is new because competitions were being held in Cameron starting in the late 1800s until the mid 20th century, but then the jump and the club like many small clubs disappeared. These examples may be where the idea that our sport is dying comes from. However, this past fall a Maki, stepped up to revive the club, and continue the exceptional dedication of this family to the sport of Ski Jumping. Alana Maki-Foust and her husband, Brandon, partnered with the Eau Claire Flying Eagles to become a satellite location for the club thanks to the help of the Jastrows. Bjorn Hanson from Out There Nordic has also been a big supporter, and like all clubs, other volunteers have also stepped up to help. Tim Dahlberg, a former ski jumper from Grantsburg and Sue Kavanagh have been assisting, and Doug Maki, who many of you know, has been an amazing resource and mentor, helping with equipment, raising money, getting the hill ready, and lots of advice. They also had a great group of parents who assisted with the tournament Cameron held on February 11. Pat Lyons and the St. Paul Ski Club contributed equipment, and the Itasca Ski Clubs in Coleraine donated helmets.

The new jump is a 7-meter located on a small hill that leads down to a sports field on the Cameron School District’s property. The head of building and grounds came out with his snow tractor to help contour the hill, and they are hoping the school district will allow them to build a ramp for a 10-12 meter next year. This year they had seven kids join the program, and in the words of Alana, “it was seriously so much FUN! Every single night the kids were making gains and improvements. I am pretty positive I will have 5 kids returning next year.” This all goes to show that starting a small hill program and getting kids out jumping can be done in a safe and effective manner without having to build a fancy jump if there is a dedicated group of people.

The Cameron Flying Eagles are just one example of clubs being revived and growing all across the country. Other examples include the Ishpeming Ski Club (which is not as far away as everyone thinks, by the way), which has hired Gary Rasmussen as a coach. Gary has already been into the local schools, recruiting more than 10 new athletes. I was out at practice a couple of weeks ago as athletes took their first jumps on the 40 meter, and the excitement was palpable. Gary hopes to build on this excitement as they move into the summer and start jumping on the plastic that they now have on all their hills up to the 40 meter. Further south in Central, Karla Keck continues to work to move things forward at Heiliger Huegel, and they were able to hold a small informal meet again this year, which is great!

Another exciting development in Central this winter was the creation of Flight Club, which was initiated by Girlie Gessner, Mary Elizabeth Pollard, Scott Ulrey, and Lee Hull. Flight club provided a traveling coach for kids across the region and guaranteed that young athletes would have a familiar coach on all hills for the weekend competitions. These coaches included Oleg Glyvka, Albert Gasienica, Matt Gundry, Nick Schott, Shawn Arneson, and Sue Kavanagh. They had nearly 40 kids sign up, which was much more than they expected and both parents and athletes are excited for the coming summer.

In the East, Colin Delaney and Larry Stone are also doing a great job in Lake Placid to get their numbers back up, and Eric Smith and Ryan McKeon are new coaches in Lebanon. Brattleboro is planning on trying to get their junior program going again next year and Todd Einig and Spencer Knickerbocker hope to reopen the small hills at Memorial Park next year.

In the West, Alaska has record numbers with 70 junior athletes and over 10 master jumper/parents in their club, and plastic on all their hills, thanks to the hard work of Karen Compton and Vivienne Murray, Zak Hamill and Natasha Matoon. As to be expected, Todd Wilson has steamboat setting the bar, with 120 athletes in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club program, which is a record! In Park City the Learn to Fly days have been a huge hit, and Alan Alborn, coaches, and parents are all putting in tons of time to move things forward. Leavenworth, WA continues to have a ton of jumpers on their 15 and 25 meters because of their Four Way Competition the Bakke Cup. All these kids jump on alpine skis, but there is some real interest in getting a Nordic program going.

On the infrastructure side of things there are many efforts to upgrade facilities and a very exciting project moving forward in Red Wing, Minnesota, being led by Bryan Sanders. This will bring a brand new HS 130 to Red Wing. A new Big Hill in the US is a Huge DEAL! Eau Claire is currently in the middle of a capital campaign to rebuild their 40 meter, make it larger, and put plastic on Silver Mine, which is being led by Dan Mattoon. ORDA is currently in the planning process for a facility upgrade of the 1980 Olympic Complex, in Lake Placid, and the question I get asked the most… yes, the rumors are true that the Nansen Ski Jump in Berlin, NH has been re-decked and Sarah Hendrickson will be jumping it later this winter as part of a Red Bull promotional event, so stay tuned.

I am looking forward to culminating the winter season in Norge for what will surely be a great Junior Nationals despite the lack of snow, and there are many other positive things happening that I have not even mentioned. I am sorry if I missed some people. I also recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done, and some clubs are struggling. However, overall I am very optimistic about the direction we are heading and the future of our sport!

 

By: Jed Hinkley