All ski jumping hills have different starting positions that are located at the top of the jump. All modern ski jumps have “bar starts”. The jumper will sit on one of these bars before he/she goes down the “inrun”. Prior to competition, officials will decide which bar will allow the fastest speed … but not so fast that the best skiers will fly too far down the hill to land safely. This determination is made by observing distances achieved in practice and/or trial rides prior to start of competition. All competitors must start from the same bar.
This is the first part of the ski jump. The inrun starts at the top of the bar starts and ends at the “take off”. The jumper will get into his/her inrun position on this part of the jump to gain speed and get ready for the take off.
The Take Off:
The part of the jump is located at the end of the inrun and is the place where the jumper enters into the air. The height of the take off does not equate to the size of the jump. The take off ends where the “landing hill” begins.
The knoll is the first part of the landing hill and starts right underneath the take off. The knoll runs from the bottom of the take off and continually curves down the “P” point or blue line. Ski jumpers try not to land on the knoll.
P Point/Blue Line:
The “P” point or German “Punkt” point on the landing hill is the place where the curve of the hill or the knoll ends. This point is designated by two blue lines running down both sides of the landing hill. This designated area signifies the portion of the landing hill that is a straight line and is the steepest part of the hill. The blue lines run down the landing hill until the “K” point.
K Point/Red Line:
The “K” point (in German, “Kritical”) is where the steepest part of the hill (the straight line) ends and the hill begins to flatten out. This part of the landing hill is designated by two red lines running down both sides of the landing hill. The “K” point starts from where the hill begins to make it’s transition from a hill to flat ground or the stopping area. Jumpers try to jump past “K”. Jumping past the “K” point is where the fun really begins.
Designation of the Size of a Ski Jump:
The “K” point on each jumping hill or where the hill begins to flatten out designates the size of the hill. In other words a K18 meter ski jump means that it is 18 meters from the take off to the point where the hill begins to flatten out of the “K” point begins. A K90 meter jump means that it is 90 meters from the end of the take off to where the hill begins to flatten out or “K” point. A K65 meter jump has a “K” point at 65 meters.
This is the first position the ski jumper gets in as he/she comes down the inrun. It is used to gain speed and put the jumper in the right position (having the jumper’s balance and weight in the right place) to move on the “take-off”.
The take off move happens at the end of the inrun or on the take off. The idea behind the “move” is basically to try to get from the inrun position to the flight position as quickly, powerfully, efficiently, gracefully, and harmoniously as possible. A ski jumper has to commit him/herself to jump foward and trust that the skis will be in the right place on the end and after the take off. Trust and a bit of bravery are needed on the end of the take off to jump far.
The jumper leaves the end of the take off and gets into the flight position. A good flight position has a jumper with the head up, and actively relaxed upper body, arms at the side of the body, a little forward bend at the waist, legs locked, and ankles “cocked” to put the skis in a “V” shape.
Cocking the Ankles:
Cocking the ankles means pulling the toes and foot up as if you were trying to balance a ball on the top of your foot. Cocking the ankles helps bring the skis up and stabilize the “V” in the air.
The modern “V” position formed by the skis in flight was started in 1985 by a Swedish jumper, Jan Bokloev. The V creates a larger surface area for the jumpers to get lift. Traditionally skis were carried parallel and in front or to the side of the body during the air flight.
The Telemark landing (one foot in front of the other) allows the jumper to stay in his/her flight position longer and is a graceful way to finish the jump. The telemark came about because in the early days of ski jumping when jumpers used boots that were cut low in the back, they’d have to throw one foot forward to keep their balance.
Ski jumping is the only sport scored on both objective (distance) and subjective (style, or technique) criteria. If you’ve ever heard someone use the term “style points” … that’s a reference to ski jumping. Points are EARNED for distance, and awarded for precise technique. There are typically five judges … and the top and bottom scores are discarded.
Judge (style) Points:
Each judge can award up to 20 points for each of two rides in an official competition. If a jumper was so good that he or she got 20 points from each judge for the first round, they’d get 60 points. Typically, really good jumpers will get scores in the 17-19 point range; therefore getting about 55 points per ride would net a good jumper about 110 points total for two competition rides.
The “K” point on the hill can be thought of as “par” for distance scoring. The jumper would automatically get 60 points for landing right at the “K” point. A standard adjustment is made for landing beyond (or short of) “K”. On the big Olympic 120 meter hills, the adjustment is 1.2 points per meter (more points per meter on a smaller hill). If a jumper landed twice at “K” … that would mean an automatic 120 points for distance (60 points per round). More distance earns more points. This conversion of distance to points “standardizes” scoring across hills of various sizes.
Let’s say our really good jumper, who got a total of 110 points from the judges, jumped a bit past “K” on each ride, and earned 130 points for distance. That jumper’s score for the day would be 240. It’s the result of two very good flights in the eyes of the judges, and distances a bit beyond “par” … the “K” point. Skiers who can score above 200 are pretty good. Over 220 is very good. A score of 240 is excellent. At the World Cup level, the athletes are so good that scores approaching 300 are relatively common, and it’s not unusual to have the top 30 scoring 220 points or more. The highest score ever recorded in World Cup competition was achieved by Germany’s Sven Hannawald, who hit 319 points. Considering that even if he had perfect scores from all judges on both flights, that would account for only 120 points. He had 199 points for distance … 79 points for distance beyond the “K” point. That’s flying!