Skiers soared through the air at the 88th Annual Jumpfest Winter Festival, hosted by the Salisbury Winter Sports Association.
The event brought out some of New England’s best ski jump athletes of every age and ability.
“I love to fly, really,” said Casey Nichols, who came all the way from New Hampshire to compete.
“It’s kind of like being in an airplane for a short amount of time. When you get to the jump for the first time it’s really scary, and then you get used to it,” said 11-year-old Cora Rydingsword of Salisbury, who medaled at Jumpfest.
The 70-meter Salisbury ski jump attracts thrill seekers and serious competitors alike. Five current Olympians have jumped there, including three out of the four members of the U.S. Men’s Ski Jumping Team, and one athlete on the Woman’s Ski Jumping Team.
In fact, it’s the first time in Olympics history that women have been allowed to compete in a ski jumping event. It’s a precedent that’s not lost on the young women who snapped on their skis at Jumpfest.
“I’d like to try it someday. Go to the Olympics and ski jump in the Olympics,” said young Madeleine Zuckerman of Vermont.
The jumpers take off at about 45 miles per hour on the tallest jump. No wonder they feel like they’re flying!
“It’s a very unique event and we’ve always enjoyed it,” said spectator David Hazard, who drove up from Stamford for Jumpfest.
Hazard was part of a large, cheerful crowd braving the cold with bon fires and watching the jumpers take off, and take flight.
Cora’s mom, Sarah Rydingsword, can’t wait to see how inspired her daughters become as they watch Team USA go for gold in men’s and women’s ski jumping, especially the first women’s team to ever compete at the Games.
“It’ll be fun to watch their reaction more than anything. To watch them watch the Olympians go, and see their wheels turning,” said Rydingsword.