Ski Jumping in Slovenia

This past winter in the Northern Hemisphere was one of a kind and some people are still skiing here and there, which blows my mind. One event that blew my mind as well was an unexpected visit to the world class ski jumping hill of Planica, Slovenia, as we went hiking into the valley of Tamar that Planica extend into. With the imminent Winter Olympics, a number of athletes were practicing their jumps and I was able to photograph them from the end of the landing hill and from the side of the slope.

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If you’ve ever had a large bird fly by your head you would have an idea of the sound produced by the skiers gliding through the air, pushing their body forward and extending arms and legs to brake the downward motion. Full speed, no parachutes, nothing. And they can cover, wait for it… up to 250m of distance. In fact the world record is held by Austrian athlete Stefan Kraft at 253.5m…

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Planica is a significant venue where ski flying began in 1935, and is home of both the first jumps over 100m in 1936 and over 200m in 1994. I honestly thought this is the most extreme thing I have ever seen… obviously you start on smaller hills and work your way through to the ski flying hill over years over practice, but it is absolutely amazing and a mind-boggling thing to watch…

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The picture above shows the moment of landing where the front of the skis flex upward dramatically. Needless to say, not landing right can have terrible consequences and a crash happened on the second slope while we were there.

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Luckily he or she was able to stand up and walk away after the initial shock, and others kept on practicing…

 

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Big thanks to Johannes for introducing us to this place, just an hour drive away from Feistritz in Austria where we were staying for a few days. Enjoy the summer now, it’s about time!

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