Steamboat Springs Almost as soon as he got off the plastic surface of the ski jumping hill in Germany, Steamboat Springs special jumper Clint Jones was on the phone to his dad, Glenn, with the good news.
"I got the call Sunday morning at about 9:30 a.m. and he was really excited," Glenn said. "I already knew that he had finished second, but it was good to hear it from him."
The news was that Clint had topped a field of top international skiers to place second in a Summer Grand Prix (the summer version of the Special Jumping World Cup Tour) event in Hinterzarten, Germany on Aug. 11.
Jones scored 278 points on jumps of 104 and 100 meters to finish with 266.5 points, allowing him to slip past another Austrian, Martin Hoellwarth, who finished third.
Austria's Andreas Widhoelzl, who won both events held in Hinterzarten over the weekend, topped Jones in the event by soaring 108.5 and 105.5 meters on his two jumps.
He finished with 278 points.
Poland's Adam Malysz was fourth and Finland's Matti Hautamaeki was fifth.
Fellow American jumper Alan Alborn was 14th and Tommy Schwall placed 46th.
It was the second Grand Prix event of the summer.
In the opening event, which was held on Aug. 10, Jones was fifth and Alborn was 11th.
"All the big guys were there so this was huge for Clint," local jumping coach Chris Gilbertson said. "It's just an awesome finish for Clint and all the American jumpers. It is easily the best American finish (in Europe in 10 years)."
The jumpers had to battle changing wind conditions over the weekend and especially on Sunday.
"The wind was pretty inconsistent, so I just tried to focus on my jumping and not think too much," Jones said in a U.S. Ski Team press release. "I had some good headwind on my first jump, but on the second jump it wasn't as good. I was only a half-point behind Widhoelzl after the first jump, but he really kicked butt on his second jump."
Jones was able to keep things close despite being outdistanced on his first attempt because he laid down a great jump that netted him the most available points.
The event was using a new judging system, which is being tested during the Grand Prix, in which the takeoff and flight are ignored, and points are awarded based solely on the landing and out-runs. Jones scored the maximum points on his jump.