Ski jumping: history, rules, equipment

Ski Jumping

In our article you will learn about the history and features of ski jumping, we will also talk about the rules and equipment, and answer popular questions.

#Прыжкистрамплина #SkiJumping #Прыжкиналыжахстрамплина

Ski jumping is considered an extreme winter sport in which athletes ski down a steep, curved ramp to develop speed to travel the maximum distance through the air once they’re off the ramp.

Sondre Norheim
Sondre Norheim

The history of ski jumping begins in 1808, when the first jump of 9.5 meters was performed by the Norwegian Ole Rai. However, modern jumping was accredited by Sondre Norheim in 1866. He won the first jumping competitions and developed various turns in the slalom as well. Sondre is rightly considered the “father” not only of ski jumping, but of the sport of skiing in general.

Over time, as a result of the growing popularity of ski jumping spread around the world. In the early 1920s, the Norwegian athletes Tulin Tams and Sigmund Ruud developed the Kongsberger jumping technique.

The new style of jumping was a wide incline forward with the arms outstretched and the skis placed parallel to each other. This technique allowed the Austrian jumper Sepp Bradl in 1939 to become the first athlete to jump 100 meters.

In the 50’s the style of jumping was tweaked by Finnish athletes who changed the angle of the jumper during the flight and the positioning of the arms for more sail. The increased angle allowed the athlete to use the oncoming airflow as a lifting force. Thanks to the new technique, the Finnish athletes were able to win many victories and displace the world’s dominant Norwegians.

V-style in ski jumping
V-style in ski jumping

The modern style of jumping (V-style) was successfully demonstrated by the Swedish jumper Jan Boklev in the late 1980s. During training, Jan noticed that if you spread the skis to the side so that they resemble the Latin letter “V”, the range increases by 10% on average. The “V” style is currently the primary ski jumping style for most athletes.

Ski Jumping became part of the Olympic family in 1924. At the first Games competitions were held among men on one 90-meter high ski jump. Since 1964 the program included the 120-meter ski jump. Women were able to demonstrate their skills for the first time at the Sochi Olympics (2014) and mixed teams at the Beijing Olympics (2022).

In order to win the competition, the athlete must demonstrate not only the maximum range of the jump, but also perfect technique. For each successfully performed jump, the athlete is awarded points by 5 judges.

Ski jumping ramp
Ski jumping ramp

If the athlete reaches the “K-point” (the inflection point where the landing pad begins to level out), he/she automatically earns 60 points. If he flies further than the special mark, he earns additional points for each meter. The additional points for distance range vary from 1.2 to 4.8 per meter depending on the type of ski jump.

Telemark's landing
Telemark’s landing

Also, 60 points can be earned by an athlete for jump style. Judges evaluate many factors; they look at how the competitor controls his/her jump in flight, performs a Telemark landing and other effective techniques. For example, the judges look at the smoothness of the flight, whether the athlete was able to keep the skis straight in the air. They will also assess the strength of the jump and the competitor’s courage to make sure the skier is confident. They will also evaluate the smooth stop after landing and the breakaway from the ski jump.

In addition, the overall score will also be affected by an external factor, wind speed or changes in the height of the starting gate. If the wind is favorable, the athlete will receive a point deduction, and if the wind is unfavorable, on the contrary, a surcharge. The height of the starting gate allows the athlete to change the rate of acceleration, a higher starting place allows the judge to deduct points and a lower starting place to add points.

At the end of the competition, the athlete with the most points on the sum of two jumps wins. And in order to ensure that the competition is fair, the sport has a number of strict rules.

One of these rules is the body mass index (BMI). Lower weight jumpers must use shorter skis to reduce aerodynamic lift. In order to use the maximum ski length of 146% of an athlete’s height, a jumper must have a BMI of at least 18.5 without equipment and 20.0 with equipment.

Jumping suit
Jumping suit

There are also strict rules for equipment. The bindings on the skis must be placed so that the front of the skis up to the bindings is at least 57% of the total length. An athlete may also be disqualified for overly wide overalls. It must be within 2 centimeters of the body size tolerance, as a wider suit will increase sail.

Another important parameter is the breathability of the material. The lower it is, the more dense the fabric and the better the suit keeps the athlete in the air. The minimum breathability of the fabric should be 40 liters.

Because ski jumping is not a safe sport, athletes pay special attention to the protective helmet. Helmet is not only an obligatory element of equipment, but also its most important attribute. Professional helmets are mainly made in Germany.

Ski Jumping Helmet
Ski Jumping Helmet

The outer part is made of high-tech carbon, a material stronger than steel, and the inner part is made of EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam. During the impact, the foam compresses and creates a spring effect, thereby reducing the force of the impact.

Secrets of jumping skills begin to instill at a young age. Sports sections accept children from 5 years of age, but training begins with conventional skis. According to federal standards, children may be allowed to jump only from the age of 9 years, and training will initially take place on a 20-meter springboard.

Ski jumping is a rather expensive sport, as the minimum cost of skis and boots will cost 70 thousand rubles. In fact, the total set of equipment will cost about 200 thousand. Sometimes sports sections provide their own equipment for novice athletes.

About ski jumping


Ski jumping is a winter sport in which athletes descend on special skis on a prepared springboard and perform a jump at a distance. It has been an Olympic sport since 1924.

Length in ski jumpingThe length of the jump is calculated as the distance from the jump-off point to the landing point between the athlete's feet when he performs a Telemark. The computer determines the length of the jump in automatic mode. If the computer fails, it is the responsibility of the judge, who will be able to determine the distance with an accuracy of 0.5 meters by a special marking on the slope.

Each athlete has the right to perform three jumps. The first (trial) jump is not counted, and the remaining two are the final result. As a rule, the competition takes place over two days. The first day is qualification and the second day is the final.

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