The competitive ski jumping season in Steamboat Springs ended on a good note Sunday thanks to calmer air, cooler snow conditions and a top showing from local favorite Clint Jones.
"After spending the last two months in Europe, it was nice to come home and have some fun," Jones said. "The conditions were pretty bad on the HS100 Saturday. The snow was warm and sticky ... but things were cooler (Sunday), and we were able to have a pretty good and fair competition."
Jones combined jumps of 121.5 and 120 meters on Steam-boat's HS127 hill to win the final Super Tour competition with 254.3 points.
Fourteen-year-old Trevor Morrice of Canada jumped 117 and 121 meters to finish second with 243 points. Steamboat's Tommy Schwall finished third despite having his worst jump of the day during the first round of competition.
However, Schwall didn't let the 112.5-meter effort keep him off the podium. He returned to form in the second round flying 117 meters to move into third place with 228.2 meters.
"It was great to see those U.S. Ski Team members in Steamboat Springs," event organizer Todd Wilson said. "We had four of the five members of the 2006 Olympic special jumping team is town for this one."
Wilson thinks the experience of jumping with athletes such as Jones, Schwall, Anders Johnson and Jim Denney can only make ski jumping in the United States stronger.
Steamboat Winter Sports Club jumpers Trevor Wert soared to a fifth-place finish, Alex Miller was eighth, and Taylor Fletcher placed ninth.
The Super Tour was started in 2004 as a way of providing more domestic competitions for young jumpers in North America. The Tour offers modest prizes to top finishers and provides a place for promising American and Canadian jumpers to develop their skills.
The weekend's field drew 32 jumpers to Howelsen Hill including U.S. Ski Team members Jones and Schwall, who recently returned from the World Cup Tour.
"It's important to come back and compete in these events when we can," Jones said. "One of the biggest problems the U.S. Ski Team has right now is the exposure young jumpers have to high level competition. When guys like Alan, Tommy and I can come back, it raises the bar and helps the younger jumpers gain a new perspective on what they need to do if they want to get to the next level."