Rolf Wilson flies high Sunday en route to establishing a new world gelande jumping record in Steamboat Springs. Wilson won the Pro Alpine Flying Championship for the eighth time in nine years and reset his own world record with a jump of 375.4 feet at Howelsen Hill.
Pro Alpine Flying championship results
- Rolf Wilson, 713.70 feet
- Marsh Gooding, 697.30
- Pat Arnone, 679.25
- Erik Wilson, 677.61
- Josh Hanson, 675.97
- Lynn Wenzel, 600.50
- Tim McGill, 579.17
- Darin Gamba, 554.56
- Rob Davis, 552.92
- Andy Atha, 459.40
- Mike Bobela, 393.77
Steamboat Springs Rolf Wilson has been the king of Steamboat Springs’ annual Winter Carnival Pro Alpine Flying Championships for most of the past decade, winning the event seven of the past eight years.
He set world gelande records leaping from Howelsen Hill’s largest jump on four of those victories, and Sunday, he did it again.
Wilson caught what he said was the best air he’d ever had and flew further than he ever had, soaring 375.4 feet and blowing away his previous best, also a world record, of 366 feet.
“I’ve never been so high and floating so much in my entire life,” said Wilson, who makes the trip from Montana to compete in Steamboat every winter.
“That was incredible. I’m filled with joy, happiness … I can’t really express how I feel right now.”
Gelande jumping uses regular alpine skiing gear instead of the more specialized equipment that Steamboat’s more famous jumpers and Olympians use. Howelsen Hill’s big jump often is one of the largest the dedicated group of gelande jumpers frequent, so it often is where records are made.
Sunday’s competition, the 25th edition of the Pro Alpine Ski Flying championship, was filled with good jumps, many coming from local jumpers.
In fact, it wasn’t until Wilson threw down his monster world record that it was clear a local wouldn’t dethrone him to win this year’s title.
Winners are decided by combining the distances of a jumper’s two best efforts.
Wilson won with 713.70 feet, edging out Steamboat’s Marsh Gooding, who was second at 697.30 feet.
“It was awesome. Of course I wanted to win, but wow,” Gooding said.
Wilson actually broke the record twice, first by hitting 367.52 feet on his third of four jumps.
He then went 6.5 feet further.
Gooding also was at his best on his final jump, landing at 360.95 feet.
That was enough to bump him up one spot from his third-place finish in the event a year ago.
“There were the coolest conditions I’ve ever seen,” Gooding said. “The wind was blowing straight up the hill.”
Longtime local gelande enthusiast and organizer of the event Pat Arnone rounded out the podium with a third-place finish at 679.25 feet.
— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com