Jan. 19
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Individual 3:00am ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Individual 10:00am ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Jan. 20
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Team 3:00am ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Team 9:30am ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Jan. 21
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Individual 2:00am ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Zao, JPN – Women’s HS102 Individual 9:30am ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Jan. 20
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Chau- Neuve, FRA – Men’s HS118 Individual 4:30am ET –
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Chaux-Neuve, FRA – Men’s 10K Individual 6:30am ET –

Jan. 21
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Chaux-Neuve, FRA – Men’s HS118 Team 6:45am ET –

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Chaux-Neuve, FRA – Men’s 4X5K Team 9:00am ET –

*As of now, there is no watch schedule for Ski Flying World Championships in Oberstdorf, GER. We will update the schedule if we find a reliable streaming site.

Go USA Nordic!

Jaybird to Power USA Nordic Ski Teams with Music in their Quest for Gold


PARK CITY, Utah   Jan. 17, 2018 Sports audio and technology pioneer, Jaybird announced today a partnership with USA Nordic, the national leadership organization of ski jumping and Nordic combined in the United States. In addition to stewarding the Nordic jumping sports, USA Nordic oversees and provides resources to the USA elite squads pursuing their World Cup and Olympic dreams in the Nordic combined and ski jumping events. Through this agreement, Jaybird will support the national and junior national teams as they prepare for the World Cup and 2018 Winter Games and throughout the year by bringing music, innovation and motivation to the team.

Jaybird and USA Nordic are focused on their quest to be the best in the world while also growing the sports in the United States, developing training best practices and supporting athletes as they transition from competition to career. The team will also provide feedback to Jaybird that will be used to fuel future innovation to help athletes perform at their peak through music, with a focus on running and other aerobic training activities.

Tweet now: .@Jaybirdsport teams up with @usanordic ahead of 2018 Winter Games to power their passion:

“Nordic ski jumping and Nordic combined are two of the most mentally and physically challenging sports of all the Winter Olympic disciplines,” said Jamie Parker, president and CEO at Jaybird. “Athletes train for years to earn a position to represent their country and music is a key component for their training and pre-competition mental preparation. Our goal is to help the team to be the best on the world stage through music and technology. As athletes ourselves, Jaybird is proud to support this Park City-based organization that trains right in our backyard.”

USA Nordic is the overarching Nordic ski jumping and Nordic combined organization focused on team training and overall development of the sport in the United States.

“All of our athletes use music to get in the zone before they have to compete,” said Billy Demong, executive director of USA Nordic Sport, 2009 World Champion and America’s first Olympic gold medalist in Nordic skiing. “The right tunes can help take the anxiety away and allow them to focus on their performance during big moments. Teaming up with Jaybird is a great way for us to support our team, as well as athletes of all types, as we help Jaybird test and research new products and innovations.”

“I spend hours on the trails around Park City, running and biking in the summer, and exploring  the mountains on skis in the winter to get ready for my second Olympic Games,” said Bryan Fletcher, USA Nordic combined skier and the first American ski and snowboard athlete to officially confirm Olympic berth for 2018, winning the US Olympic Team Trials in Park City, Utah on December 30th. “To keep myself motivated during these long stretches, I always turn to music. The Jaybird RUN truly wireless headphones fit my ears perfectly so I can stay in the zone longer and train harder.”


About Jaybird

Established in 2006 in the mountains of Utah, Jaybird is a pioneer of wireless sports headphones and technology for runners, outdoor athletes and fitness enthusiasts. We believe that music empowers people to push beyond their limits and elevate their performance to new levels. Our products are developed with insights from some of the world’s best endurance athletes like Rory Bosio and Timothy Olson. Jaybird’s focus on secure and comfort fit, adventure-proof design, and incredibly rich and customizable sound means that athletes everywhere can focus on their passion without wires, or anything else, getting in their way. We continue to evolve and define what it means to motivate people to get outdoors and push themselves with music. For more information, please visit or #PowerYourPassion with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About USA Nordic

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 to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, World Championship and other international competitions in the disciplines; and to promote the highest standards of sportsmanship, equality, fair play, and good will between individuals of all nations through competition in our sports. For more information visit Join their journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Editorial Contacts:

For USA Nordic:

Sarah Anderson


For Jaybird:

Eric Wynn

(Photo Credit – U.S. Ski and Snowboard/Tom Kelly)

USA Nordic is excited to announce that 15 athletes have been nominated to take part in the 2018 Junior World Championships for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in Kandersteg, Switzerland, January 27 through February 4.

A total of nine men and five women have been selected to compete in the annual competition. Qualification standards were based on both international and domestic results, as set forth by US Ski and Snowboard, in conjunction with USA Nordic.

The Women’s Ski Jumping team will be comprised of five athletes:
Logan Sankey (19, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Annika Belshaw (15, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Cara Larson (17, Barrington, IL)
Samantha Macuga (16, Park City, UT)
Anna Hoffmann (17, Madison, WI)

The Men’s Ski Jumping Team will also have five athletes:
Casey Larson (19, Barrington, IL)
Andrew Urlaub (16, Eau Claire, WI)
Hunter Gibson (16, Fox River Grove, IL)
Decker Dean (17, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Patrick Gasienica (19, Richmond, IL)

The Men’s Nordic Combined team will be made up of four athletes:
Ben Loomis (19, Eau Claire, WI)
Stephen Schumann (17, Park City, UT)
Jared Shumate (18, Park City, UT)
Tucker Hoefler (19, Park City, UT)

Women’s Nordic Combined:
Tess Arnone (15, Steamboat Springs, CO)

All of the athletes that have been named to the team are members of either the USA Nordic National Team or the USA Nordic Junior National Team for their discipline.

This year, four of the athletes on the Women’s Ski Jumping team qualified by scoring Continental Cup points earlier this season in Notodden, Norway, while Cara qualified with podium finishes in all three domestic qualifying events. There are four return athletes to the team this year, with one newcomer, 15-year-old Annika Belshaw.

“We have seen a lot of progress from all of the women on the team this year and we feel the team is getting stronger as a whole,” said USA Nordic Coach Blake Hughes. “We are excited to get over to Europe and continue their growth as international competitors.”

As an added bonus, the women’s team will all be getting their first World Cup experience the weekend before in Ljubno, Slovenia, in preparation for the Championships.

The Men’s Ski Jumping team will be led this year by veteran and USA Nordic National Team member Casey Larson. Larson will be accompanied by two teammates from last year’s team, Decker Dean and Patrick Gasienica. The team will be rounded out by two newcomers, Andrew Urlaub and Hunter Gibson.

“It’s great to see that Andy and Hunter could step up their game this year and qualify for the team,” said coach Hughes. “They are all excited to get over to Europe and compete with their international peers.”

Andrew, Hunter, Decker, and Patrick will stay stateside and compete in the US Cup events in Eau Claire, Ishpeming and Norge. Casey will stay on the Continental Cup (COC) circuit and will meet up with the team in Kandersteg.

The Nordic Combined team is full of experience, led by veteran and silver medalist at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, Ben Loomis. Loomis is coming off of three top five finishes on the Nordic Combined COC circuit in December. Schumann has had a handful of top 20 finishes on the COC tour as well, and Shumate had the first top 30 COC finish of his career in December. Tucker Hoefler has had a good start to his season as well, including winning a domestic qualifier in Park City, UT.

Tess Arnone will be the lone women’s athlete in the women’s Nordic Combined test event. She will be joined by her dad, professional gelande jumper Pat Arnone.

“We’ve had a very successful start to the season,” said USA Nordic Nordic Combined COC coach Tomas Matura. “Several junior athletes have taken their game to the next level.”

The Nordic Combined team will meet in Oberstdorf, Germany, for a five day pre-camp before joining the other American teams in Kandersteg on January 27.

Schedule of Events:

Tuesday, January 30
Women’s Nordic Combined individual test event (HS72/5k)
Men’s Nordic Combined individual (HS106/10k)

Thursday, February 1
Women’s Ski Jumping individual (HS106)
Men’s Ski Jumping individual (HS106)
Men’s Nordic Combined team (HS106/4x5k)

Friday, February 2
Women’s Ski Jumping team (HS106)
Men’s Ski Jumping team (HS106)

Saturday, February 3
Men’s and Women’s Ski Jumping mixed team (HS106)
Men’s Nordic Combined sprint (HS106/5k)

Go USA Nordic!

Jan. 12
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bad Mitterndorf, AUT – Men’s HS235 Qualification 6:00am ET –

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Sapporo, JPN – Women’s HS100 Individual 9:00pm ET – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 13
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bad Mitterndorf, AUT – Men’s HS235 Individual 8:15am ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bad Mitterndorf, AUT – Men’s HS235 Individual 4:00pm ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Sapporo, JPN – Women’s HS100 Individual 9:00pm ET – Olympic Channel TV

Jan. 14
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bad Mitterndorf, AUT – Men’s HS235 Individual 8:15am ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bad Mitterndorf, AUT – Men’s HS235 Individual 4:00pm ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Jan. 12
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s HS135 Individual 3:30am ET –
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s 10K Individual 7:30am ET –

Jan. 13
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s HS135 Team 4:00am ET –

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s 2X7.5K Team 9:45am ET –

Jan. 14
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s HS135 Individual 4:00am ET –

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup, Val di Fiemme, ITA – Men’s 10K Individual 7:45am ET –

Go USA Nordic!

Story Project 2017- A reflection on a century of Ski Jumping and fueling our team into 2018!

For 6 years and 186 stories we have opened our inboxes everyday in December to reflect on what Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined have meant to all of us. We share our stories and live vicariously through one another, celebrating the thrill of flight. We reconnect with friends, coaches and teammates and meet our next generation of high flying athletes.

We Remember: Gene Kotlarek, American Hero, Olympic Ski Jumper

For me Story Project is the most powerful program we here at USANS conduct, engaging our community to remember our past and dream about our future. Over the past few years this has also been an incredible opportunity for our us to give to help the current and next generation and this year was no exception! Nearly 150 individuals generously donated over $96,000 to fuel the journey of USANS and our amazing athletes. 

Sophia Schreiner shares her love for the thrill of flight!

As I write this I can’t help but think of where we would be without the soul of Story Project, Jeff Hastings. There are few people with the talent, drive and ingenuity of Jeff and for him we have so much to be thankful for in helping us all find our way back together. As we wrap up this years Story Project and refocus our gaze toward the upcoming games I would like for everyone reading this to take a moment and Thank Jeff Hastings! His email is and flooding his inbox would be the best way for this community to remind him of our love and thanks!

Ribs we will never see again.  Other guys kicked sand in our faces at  “Skinny Beach” .  
Hastings, Konopacke, McGrane, and Holland, 1983, Lahti, FIN. (Mike Holland Story Project, Dec 9, 2012)

Don’t forget, Story Project is not only a celebration of flight but it is a labor of love! Send USANS and Jeff Hastings your story with a picture or two NOW! so that we can make next year even better!

Lastly, a year ago I shared that my son Liam had taken his first jump (albeit on downhill skis) and last week on that anniversary he started his first day on the long boards! It is for love of the sport and the people who cherish it that we do all this. Thanks again for all of your stories, your love and your generosity.

Happy 2018,

Billy Demong



(Photo Credit – Tadeusz Mieczynski)

Kevin Bickner was the highlight of the weekend, finishing 26th at the final 4-Hills competition of the season and scoring his first World Cup points of the season in Bischofshofen, Austria. It was the lone World Cup event of the weekend, after lack of snow caused the cancellation of the Women’s Ski Jumping World Cup in Rasnov, Romania, as well as the Nordic Combined World Cup in Otepaa, Estonia.

Conditions were warm and calm for the night event on the HS140. Bickner’s first jump of 120.5 meters was enough to move him into the second round in the head-to-head format. Kevin was paired against Russian athlete Denis Kornilov, whose jump of 115 meters was not far enough to keep Bickner from advancing.

Bickner’s second jump was an improvement. Flying 126.5 meters, Bickner put himself in a great position. Despite the increased distance, the field was extremely competitive and Bickner ended up in 26th, less than 2 points from a top 20 finish.

“I feel good about that result,” added Bickner. “I probably could’ve done a little bit better, but it’s the first points of the year, so I can’t complain.”

“It was a good day for Kevin,” said Norcic. “We are confident that he’s found the right equipment and the right feeling going into the rest of the season.”

Norcic also credited Assistant Coach Uros “Balki” Vrhovec for the change in Kevin’s jumping, now that the World Cup tour has resumed.

“Balki has done a really good job getting Kevin’s jumping on the right path,” said Norcic. “They’ve spent a lot of extra time working together and today we got to see it pay off.”

Bickner was the only athlete to compete on Saturday, but Head Coach Bine Norcic was excited with what he saw from the whole team.

Mike Glasder (Cary, IL) was disqualified due to a suit measurement and Will Rhoads (Park City, UT) was unable to qualify, but Norcic is optimistic about the upcoming Ski Flying event at Kulm in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria.

“It was too bad for Mike,” said Norcic about the disqualification. “He could be dangerous on the hill right now. Will was just a little bit tired from the travel, but he’ll have his energy back in a day or two.”

While the rest of the World Cups may have been cancelled, there was still plenty of action on the Continental Cup circuits.

The Nordic Combined team had another “triple” weekend at COC’s in Klingenthal, Germany. Jasper Good was the top American on Friday, finishing 14th in the 5k “sprint” event. He was followed by Ben Loomis in 19th, Stephen Schumann in 45th, and Ben Berend in 47th.

Saturday, Loomis was the top American, finishing 21st. Loomis was followed by Ben Berend in 36th. Schumann was disqualified due to a suit measurement, and Good did not start the race.

Sunday’s jumping competition was cancelled due to wind, and the athletes raced off of the results from the provisional round held on Friday. Ben Loomis was the top American again, finishing 14th. Jasper Good was back in the points on Sunday, finishing 27th, and Stephen Schumann finished the day in 37th. Ben Berend was one of 15 athletes who did not race on Sunday.

The rest of the USA Nordic Men’s Ski Jumpers were busy this weekend with two COC events in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany. Casey Larson was the top American skier on Saturday, finishing 48th. Larson was followed by AJ Brown in 57th and Nick Mattoon in 65th. 

Larson was the top American on Sunday as well, finishing 57th. Brown was just behind Larson in 58th, and Mattoon finished the day 67th.

This coming weekend will be packed full of events, with all three World Cup tours back in action. The Men’s Ski Jumping team will be competing in the first Ski Flying event of the year in Bad Mitterndorf, Austria, on the HS235. Currently the team is at their base in Slovenia, resting and getting a little open training after a long few weeks of travel. The Women’s Ski Jumping team has traveled to Sapporo for the first of two weekends of competitions in Japan. And the Nordic Combined team will be in Val di Fiemme, Italy, for two individual competitions, as well as one team sprint event.

Go USA Nordic!

(Photo Credit – Ben Pieper Photography: Point Productions, LLC)

Happy New Year from USA Nordic!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at our home base in Park City, UT. As all of you know, this past weekend was the US Olympic Team Trials for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined and we are happy to say that, overall, it was a very successful weekend.

In total, three athletes were named to the 2018 Olympic team over the weekend. Bryan Fletcher took the win on Saturday in the Nordic Combined event, while Michael Glasder and Sarah Hendrickson each won their respective competitions on Sunday. All three athletes are now guaranteed a spot for the upcoming Olympics in PyeongChang.

On Saturday, a total of nine athletes took part in the one day, winner-take-all event. Ben Loomis continued his great start to the season, winning the jumping portion of the competition with a jump of 92.5 meters and giving himself a 56 second lead over second place, which was secured by his older brother, Adam Loomis. Adam had a strong day on the hill, jumping 89.5 meters. And Ben Berend rounded out the top three going into the race, starting 1:19 behind the leader, Bryan Fletcher.

Overcast skies and warmer temperatures, paired with a tough cross country course, set the scene for a dogfight and the race did not disappoint. Ben Loomis skied the first few laps by himself, carefully pacing himself in order to save a little for the fight he expected to come. As the race went on, Bryan and younger brother Taylor both began working their way through the field, trying to make up the time they had lost in the jumping.

By the third lap, Bryan and Adam were skiing together, chasing Ben, while running from Taylor. After four laps, Bryan, Ben L., and Adam were skiing together, each one of them trying to set themselves up for the win. Bryan made his move at the bottom of the long hill.

“Both Ben and Adam can sprint really well,” said Bryan. “I decided I had to make my move as far out as I could, which was the bottom of the hill, and just try to climb my way to the win.”

The move worked; one and a half kilometers from the finish, Bryan began to pull away. It was a hard fight and neither Loomis was willing to concede, giving chase all the way to the end. Despite a great effort by both the Loomis brothers, Fletcher’s move was too strong. He pulled away and was able to maintain enough of a lead to let out a roar as he crossed the finish line. Adam Loomis finished close behind in second and Ben Loomis completed the podium in third.

“Everyone had a good strategy in the race today, especially the top three guys,” said Head Coach Martin Bayer. “Bryan is obviously skiing strong and having a good season, but it was a great day for all the guys on the podium, hands down.”

(Photo Credit – Ben Pieper Photography: Point Productions, LLC)

On Sunday, a crowd of over 7,000 spectators made their way up the hill to the former Olympic venue in order to cheer on the nine women and six men who were competing. Clear blue skies and crisp air, along with the energy from the crowd, combined for an event as exciting as any in the past four years.

First up were the men. Calm air and sunshine meant that conditions could not be more fair. Michael Glasder led after the first round with a jump of 98.5 meters. Teammate Kevin Bickner tied Glasder in distance in the first round, but Glasder had a slight edge of 1.5 points due to style. Meanwhile, local skier Will Rhoads kept himself in the hunt with a jump of 95.5 meters, which left him less than six points from the lead.

The second round was even tighter than the first. Of the top three, Kevin was the first to go. His jump of 100 meters was the longest of the day and sent the pressure right back up to the top.

“I actually heard Kevin’s distance all the way at the top, even above the roar of the crowd,” said Glasder. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m really going to have to do something special here,’ so I just tried to calm my nerves and focus on what I needed to do.”

Glasder’s second jump was 98 meters. It was a few meters short of his teammate, but his style points were high enough to take the lead over Bickner and the win. Rhoads was the lone man at the top. His second jump of 97 meters was an improvement, but not enough to overtake his teammate. Glasder watched the screen from the bottom as he saw his name remain in the top spot and he had officially become an Olympian. Kevin Bickner was only 1.5 points behind in second, and Rhoads finished the day in third.

“Conditions were perfect,” said USA Nordic Team Director and Coach Clint Jones. “Overall as a team, the guys all stepped up and performed better than we could’ve asked.”

“I’m really excited for Mike,” added Jones. “He’s been working towards this for a long time and it’s great to see him win.”

(Photo Credit – Ben Pieper Photography: Point Productions, LLC)

For the grand finale, all eyes were on our women’s team. A total of nine women took to the top of the K90, hoping to earn the coveted first Olympic spot. With so much on the line, it was really anybody’s day to win. Of all the competitions, the women’s was probably the most unpredictable, which made it the perfect end to such an exciting weekend.

Local skier Sarah Hendrickson led after the first round with a jump of 97.5 meters. Teammate and fellow Park City local Abby Ringquist had a jump of 96 meters, finding herself just a few points behind Sarah after the first round. And Nina Lussi, who has been steadily improving all winter, was just a half point behind Abby with a jump of 98.5 meters, the farthest jump of the day for the women.

Of the top three, Nina was the first to go in the second round. Lussi had a great jump, flying 97 meters, but an unfortunate crash when she landed took her out of contention and will keep her out for the rest of the season. Lussi was hoping to make her first Olympic team and our hearts are with her as she begins her road to recovery.

To read an update on Nina Lussi click Here

Following Lussi, there were just two skiers left. Ringquist was the first to go. Shaking any nerves that come from watching a friend and teammate crash, Abby had another solid jump of 91.5 meters, after moving down a start gate, and found herself at the top of the leaderboard with one skier left.

Sarah Hendrickson, who had to sit out the Olympic Trials four years ago as she recovered from her own knee injury, was alone at the top. She calmed her nerves, slid onto the bar, and, ever the professional, threw down another great jump. Flying 93.5 meters, also from a gate lower, Hendrickson let out a scream in the stopping area while, seconds later, the announcement from former Olympian Anders Johnson made her win official. Ringquist ended the day in second, and Nita Englund continued her solid start to the winter finishing in third.

“Obviously I’m extremely happy for Sarah,” said USA Nordic Head Women’s Coach Alan Alborn. “She had to stand four years ago [due to a knee injury suffered in training in September of 2013], and she went through so much to come back. Her win today was really inspiring to me as a coach.”

“Honestly, I was surprised how close it was,” said Alborn. “All of the athletes really stepped up today. It’s unusual to see athletes competing at a higher level than training; it was really great to see them all execute.”

(Photo Credit – Ben Pieper Photography: Point Productions, LLC)

Next, all of our USA Nordic athletes will be heading back to Europe or to Japan at some point over the next two weeks. The men’s Ski Jumping team will meet back up with the World Cup circuit immediately, with competitions in Innsbruck, AUT, and Bischofshofen, AUT, on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. A lack of snow has led to cancellations for the Nordic Combined World Cup, as well as the Women’s World Cup, this weekend. However, both circuits will be back in action next weekend, with the NC team in Val di Fiemme, ITA, and the women’s SJ team going to Japan for competitions in Sapporo and Zao. In the meantime, the women’s team will remain in the US to train. The men’s NC team will split up, with some athletes staying home for an extra week of training, while others compete this weekend in three competitions in Klingenthal, GER.

January 3
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Innsbruck, AUT – Men’s HS130 Qualification 8:00 a.m. ET –

January 4
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Innsbruck, AUT – Men’s H130 Individual 8:00 a.m. ET –
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Innsbruck, AUT – Men’s H130 Individual 2:30 p.m. ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

January 5
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bischofshofen, AUT – Men’s HS140 Qualification 4:00 a.m. ET –

January 6
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bischofshofen, AUT – Men’s H140 Individual11:00 a.m. ET –

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup, Bischofshofen, AUT – Men’s H140 Individual 8:00 p.m. ET – Olympic Channel TV (same day delay)

Despite perfect weather, huge crowds, USA Nordic suffers the loss of Nina Lussi for the Olympic season.

(Photo Credit – Ben Pieper Photography : Point Productions, LLC)

Nina Lussi entered this season with a focused attitude and a Nationals title at the Flaming Leaves in Lake Placid, NY highlighting her commitment to training and her elevated prowess on the ski jump.  

She has led the US domestically and abroad on many occasions this season and the Olympic trials seemed like a perfect opportunity to vie for a berth on a very competitive USA Nordic women’s ski jumping team for the upcoming games in Pyeongchang, Korea.

Lussi, as many observed on national television, jumped very well but in the second round of Sunday’s Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah suffered a fall.  While the fans gasped and leaned to see if she would regain her feet those at home saw it play out clearly that she was not getting up.  

The patrol at the Utah Olympic Park was very quick to respond, helping her into a sled and out of the outrun of the HS98 meter hill.  This left fans and friends left to wonder how was she doing?  

Lussi, a 23 year old of Lake Placid, NY soon learned that she had torn her ACL and suffered other damage that would require surgical care and a road to recovery beyond the horizon of the upcoming games. Despite all that transpired Lussi had the following to share, “I am proud of what I have accomplished leading up to this Olympic season (and) I proved that I am ready.” 

While admitting, “I am heartbroken and would have been so proud to represent the United States in Pyeongchang.” She also added that, “Hard work pays off and I will use this focus and drive to invest it in my future in the sport of ski jumping.”

USA Nordic Executive Director, Billy Demong, added “I’ve known Nina since she first began in the sport. In addition to passing down equipment to her I’ve watched her really develop as a competitor this year and was looking forward to seeing how she could help push the level of our team.”  

He added, “It is with great sadness that her teammates and our whole organization accept that her dreams for this season are at an end. However, we are all inspired by her look to the future and how she can turn what has taken her this far and help propel herself and her teammates into the future.”

“It was really unfortunate,” said Head Women’s Coach Alan Alborn. “Nina was performing better and better; my heart definitely goes out to her.”

Nina has expressed that she is really feeling comforted by all the people who are sending her well wishes.  If you feel the desire, please send yours to her facebook page:

TOM DODDS- DEC 31 2017

CURATOR’S NOTE-  For most of us, ski jumping is a love of flight (as Cooper captured beautifully yesterday) wrapped in family bonds (as father Tom describes poignantly, below).  I am so thankful to both of the Dodds for a) having the curiosity and fortitude to pursue the Big Nansen dream in the first place and b) sharing the adventure (from two perspectives!) with Story Project.  A great video of the entire adventure, shot and edited by Cooper’s friend, wingman, and talented videographer, Joey Fishman, can be seen by clicking here.

AS DUSK FALLS- Tom and Cooper Dodds with Big Nansen, this day the tamed giant, in the background.

Ford Sayre Ski Club

I loved reading Cooper’s account of skiing “Big Nansen”. For me this was one in a long line of shared ski jumping experiences with my son. Herein I will try to capture some of the myriad emotions of that day from a coach/parent perspective.

Earlier in the winter Cooper had mentioned that there was an effort to reopen Nansen for a single jump by Sarah Hendrickson (national team member with family roots in New Hampshire). The Nansen of my youth is a fuzzy memory but I do recall the enormous trestle and its place among the more prestigious jumps in the east. Having missed the opportunity to jump the Dartmouth College jump the day it closed down in the 1980s, I figured that if he and his friends could avail themselves of this opportunity it would be a unique and memorable experience.

With the winter drawing to a close in early March, I was surprised by a message from Cooper that the exhibition jump was on and he was driving north from Brooklyn to see if he could get a jump. The energy, excitement and determination that he radiated upon his arrival in Hanover with friend Joey suddenly made this very real for me. I dealt with my nervous energy by planning and preparing. Aware of the notorious Nansen winds, I immediately checked the weather in Berlin, NH. Indeed the winds were forecast to steadily build during the day on both Saturday and Sunday.

We studied images of Sarah’s jump (which happened Saturday morning) that had already made it to the web. First came brainstorming ideas for a start, as her “start” seat lowered by cable would likely not be available to us. Joey and I cut several 2×6’s at an angle that could be attached to the deck of the trestle and provide a flat surface for Cooper to put on his skis. We figured we could string a 10 foot 4×4 between railing posts to serve as a “start bar”.
We awoke to an idyllic day for a drive and an adventure. A quick trip to the Roger Burt (Ford Sayre) jump in Hanover yielded a 10 foot 4×4, a 12 foot ladder section (in case the 4×4 was not long enough), crampons, rakes, shovel, broom and the famous Ford Sayre trackulator. Driving north I felt a blend of excited anticipation and nervous energy. I was touched to be part of this shared experience and was intent upon my support/enabling role but desperately wanted to make sure that Cooper had the space and capacity to choose NOT to jump. I feared that the presence of Joey and I as well as the slow trickle of well wishes from Eastern ski jumping comrades might make him feel pressure to jump.

Arriving to the massive tower silhouetted against the clear blue sky was exhilarating. It appeared that a sno-cat had either repeatedly slid or dropped its blade while descending the hill – leaving longitudinal gouges and mounds of snow on the landing. My immediate impression was that with our small crew the landing hill was not salvageable. I was disappointed for Cooper but somewhat relieved that the decision of whether or not to jump had been taken out of our hands. We all seemed quite content with the adventure, the planning, the companionship and now the opportunity to take in this majestic trestle. We scampered up the overgrown and collapsed landing hill steps and then worked our way up the renovated trestle. The track – a narrow strip of snow on the trestle – was breaking down but appeared skiable. Standing on the table after an hour of sightseeing, Cooper and I exchanged a look – we had worked hills together before and maybe we could pull this off??

Avoiding a handful of snowboarders who were enjoying some beers and taking a few turns, I started working my way down the landing hill. I spent the first 2 hours working down from the knoll, through the P point and toward the K point – territory that Cooper would ultimately sail over! We picked rocks and broken stumps off the hill, tried to break down the longitudinal ridges, and raked dirty ice balls into the depressed areas. With the afternoon wearing on, I got down to the lower part of the hill and realized that there was still major work to be done from above K down through the transition (and I was tiring fast!). At this point I reached the conclusion that our day was done, but Cooper convinced me to let him run the landing hill to simply see how bumpy it actually was. I worked earnestly in the transition for another 30 minutes and then gave him the okay.

With the possibility that he might actually take this jump those coach/parent emotions percolated up once again. I wanted him to know that I was confident in his ability to handle the hill while still allowing the space NOT to jump. I wanted him appropriately aware of deficiencies on the hill without allowing my anxieties to needlessly grow doubts in his mind. After 26 years of doing this dance together we are getting to be pretty good partners!

With dusk beckoning, Joey and I turned in earnest to the inrun. I tried to trackulate the disintegrating track, but my trackulator did not match the dimensions of the track, and I was making things worse. I had intended to measure the hang of the take-off but I forgot my level. We hustled our makeshift standing platform and barstart up the trestle. The 4×4 proved too short but the 12 foot ladder fit just barely. I quickly screwed the platform into the deck about where I thought Sarah had started the day before. Cooper walked up without his skis to check the start and  inrun one last time. He signaled pleasure with the way things looked but later confided that he had expected me to put the start slightly lower (I suspect he said nothing because the hour was getting late, my drill was dying, my hands were frozen and my knuckles were bleeding!).

I refer you to Cooper’s piece for a description of the jump. I still struggle to summarize the impetus and motivation for his doing this and my enabling it. The simple love of flying. The opportunity to take on an historic hill that he had heard about from many of us. The potential that the opportunity might never arise again. The challenge and exhilaration of taking on and moving through so many fears and unknowns. The deep unease I felt as a parent realizing that I could not control this – could not know if we could construct a safe start, could not know if the track would hold together, could not know the appropriate speed to take, could not know if the winds would gust, and, worst of all for me, could not repair the landing hill to my standards. No, I will never forget this.

The snowboarders erupted with Cooper’s jump and one of them posted a video of the jump on Facebook. I will leave you with one of the comments about the shared video: “You jumped for the fun man, no crowd. Heart jumping. Class above class. Congratulations. Shake your hand some time.”



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