Ski jumpers determine daily sporting events at turn of year

Ski jumpers determine daily sporting events at turn of year

The Four Hills Tournament brings together four ski jumping World Cup events that have taken place annually at the turn of the year in Germany and Austria since 1952.

The jumping friends from Innsbruck and Partenkirchen certainly couldn't have imagined what would become of their idea when they first talked about starting a "jumping tour" in the cozy room of the "Maier" house in Partenkirchen in the summer of 1949. Today the tour is considered the most prestigious ski jumping competition alongside the Olympic Games and the Nordic World Ski Championships.

New Year's ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

vierschanzentournee 01The "tour" finally began with the New Year's ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1953: in front of 20,000 enthusiastic spectators, six nations (in addition to the best German and Austrian jumpers, four Swedes, three each from Norway and Switzerland and five jumpers from Slovenia) took part in the start of the tour . The New Year's jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, traditionally a part of the international Four Hills Tournament, is still a unique experience - especially if you can experience it live on site. The applause of the 30,000 spectators erupts again after each jump - and you are right in the middle of it all.

Other countries have long been interested in the major event and so it is hardly surprising that huge investments are also being made in this sport in other countries. This is particularly true for South Korea and Russia, understandably especially due to the hosting of the Olympic Games in Sochi. From the Olympiabakken to the modern facility in Tchaikovsky to Nizhni Tagil, Moscow and Almaty (Kazakhstan) - the eagles feel a fresh wind from the east. But millions of euros were also invested in new ski jumps in Turkey.

vierschanzentournee 02When asked where the most beautiful ski jump in the world is currently located, there is often a very surprising answer: in Erzurum! And in fact, if you want to see the most architecturally spectacular ski jumping facility of today, you have to go to Turkey, a country that has been associated with a lot, but not with V-style and Telemark. The truly spectacular gem is located in Erzurum in Eastern Anatolia and if the FIS is anything to go by, then in the foreseeable future the superstars of the eagle scene will also be taking off on the Kiremitlik Tepe ski jump. In any case, the Universiade already took place in Turkey in 2011.

However, Erzurum is just one of many new ski jumping hill projects that can hope to be included in the World Cup calendar. It is not without reason that FIS director Walter Hofer can consciously and with a little pride say that he now has significantly more potential event locations than there are places in the World Cup calendar. “Fortunately, we have a luxury problem,” explains the Austrian, who also helps to create a broad public through television broadcasts.

A broad public with the help of television broadcasting

vierschanzentournee 03Due to the immense investments in the next few years, the new destinations in the East will be flown to safely. The ski jumping women are already taking off in Tchaikovsky in Russia, and the combined athletes are also heading to Russia next week. In addition, South Korea, the next Olympic location in Pyeongchang (2018), also has to be flown to for a dress rehearsal. Does this mean that ski jumping is moving further east?

The plan for a Far East tour is already in the air, especially since the World Cup competitions in Sapporo usually suffer from the absence of the world stars due to the long distances. Even in the Olympic winter, a number of greats don't want to make the trip to Japan. Gregor Schlierenzauer has already canceled his start in Sapporo. “That doesn’t bother us that much because in this way the smaller nations have a chance to score points,” says Hofer.

vierschanzentournee 05The question remains whether additional resorts could be included by extending the ski season. The FIS director is currently ruling out an extension of the season. The ski jumpers are already completing 28 competitions this winter - not counting the Olympic Games and team jumping. It is therefore much more likely that some established World Cup locations will no longer be included in the tour plan in the future. “Eighty percent of the classic flight locations are untouchable,” assures Walter Hofer, “but of course we now have the chance to put a little pressure on the organizers.”

Especially since old, classic World Cup locations are also pushing back into the calendar. In Hofer's vision of the future, the World Cup winter should also start in St. Moritz at some point. However, since the new ski jump still has to be built, “that will only be an option for the future”.

If there hadn't been numerous structural problems that ultimately led to part of the facility collapsing, World Cup points could also have been competed in Erzurum.

Not to mention the war of aggression against Ukraine and Hamas against Israel!

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Life | Outdoors