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The ski jumps in Lake Placid have been modernized at last. The first official jump was made by Nina Lussi

After years of waiting, the renovation of the ski jumps in Lake Placid in United States is finally complete. The arena of the 1980 Olympics has long been an important training center for American ski jumpers. They will now have access to brand-new, modernized facilities, where they can train for international competitions, and the owners of the venue can boldly strive for opportunities of organizing top-level sports events.


The history of the ski jumps at Lake Placid, New York, dates back to 1920-1921. That was when the first 35-meter ski jumping hill was built in that particular town. What’s interesting, it was the American ski jumpers who often constituted the strongest sports representation thanks to close cooperation with the Norwegian pioneers of skiing. Therefore, it’s not surprising that in 1932, the 3rd Winter Olympics were organized precisely in Lake Placid on the K-61 hill. This prestigious event returned to the Adirondack Mountains in 1980, when the competitions were held on two ski jumps – the  K-86 and K-114. Lake Placid continued to hose the World Cup until 1990, but over time, the international importance of the MacKenzie Intervale complex began to wane. The last competition held there was  a FIS Cup on the normal HS-100 (K-90) hill in February 2015.

Although the global ski jumping elite hasn’t visited Lake Placid in years, those local ski jumps have long been an important training base camp for US representatives. The Canadian jumpers have also trained there very often. However, the last modernization of that hill took place in 1994, and more than 25 years ago, the standards for the profiles of ski jumps happened to change considerably. This means that the Americans had been training on heavily outdated ski jumps, which could later contribute to acquiring inappropriate technical jumping habits.

At the end of October and the beginning of November of this year, it was finally possible to finalize the reconstruction of the HS-100 and HS-128 hills, which had been underway since 2018. This will be a huge help for the North American ski jumpers in terms of optimizing their preparations for upcoming international challenges. The first jump on the normal hill with brand-new plastic matting was performed by the Lake Placid native, Nina Lussi. Interestingly, the 27-year-old recently participated in the Polish national championships in Zakopane in October as a guest. While praising the conditions at the modernized Średnia Krokiew hill, she mentioned that her home ski jump complex was nearing the finish line of its own modernization. “My hometown in Lake Placid, they are going through a similar renovation, so they are using the same frost rail system. I’m excited to go home and jump on my version of this,” she had then said.

As Nina mentioned, the renovation of the ski jumps in Lake Placid had included the complete re-profiling of both of them. A brand-new inrun was erected, complete with a special frost-rail system, which will allow for training in “winter conditions” even before the tracks can actually freeze naturally. In addition, the old plastic matting was replaced on the normal hill, whereas the large hill is getting brand-new matting for the very first time. Naturally, the outruns of both hills have been profiled accordingly, all for the purpose of meeting the applicable current standards. The normal hill has already been tested by the American jumpers, whereas testing jumps on the large hill will commence shortly.

I was honored to have the first official jump on the new hill in Lake Placid. I grew up and learned to ski jump here, so it was really special to take part in this ceremony,” admitted Lussi. When she was asked about the specifics of the new facility, she replied: “The new hill has been totally modernized in many ways. A completely new flight curve and landing hill was built, and the inrun was also reprofiled and equipped with a top-speed frost rail track… Soon, we will be able to jump all year on both the K-90 and K-120. I’m proud of all of the work that has gone into making this one of the top jumping sites in the world again!”

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The inaugural competitive test run of the ski jumps in Lake Placid will take place on December 24-25, when the US national championships are scheduled. This event will also serve as an Olympic qualification round ahead of the upcoming season highlight in Beijing. The winners in the men’s and ladies’ categories will ensure their participation in the most important sports event within a four-year period (of course, this is conditional on their fulfillment of the general rules for Olympic qualifications). Moreover, the MacKenzie Intervale HS-100 facility is set to become the arena of the final women’s Continental Cup competitions on March 25-26, 2022. What’s more, the Winter Universiade competitions are also planned to take place in Lake Placid in 2023.


Bartosz Leja,
source: own information / /
translated by Anna Libera


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