Steamboat Springs Ski Jumping Extravaganza has become a holiday tradition
July 2, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Fourteen-year-old Davis Petersen can't think of a better place to spend the Fourth of July holiday than sitting at the top of the jumps at Howelsen Hill waiting for his chance to fly.
"It's super fun," Petersen said about the annual Ski Jumping Extravaganza.
"There are so many people that come out to watch the competitions and to cheer for all the jumpers."
This year's Extravaganza will open at 9 a.m. Thursday with a ski jumping competition on the HS 45 jump. Another competition will follow at approximately 10:30 a.m. on the HS 75 jump.
The events will feature top club athletes from across the country and members of the U.S. Nordic combined team, and it will be used to seed the second part of the Nordic combined competition, which will take place prior to the start of Friday's Fourth of July Parade in Steamboat Springs.
On Friday, the athletes will run or use roller skis to determine the winners in a race up and down Lincoln Avenue in front of thousands of spectators who have arrived early for the parade.
The younger athletes will race at 9:15 a.m. in a 1-kilometer running race seeded by their finishes in Thursday's jumping. The older athletes will compete at 9:30 a.m. in a 3-kilometer roller ski race.
In Nordic combined, the athletes are seeded by jump results and the Gundersen system, where the top jumpers are given a head-start in the race based on a point system. This makes the race exciting and easy to follow. The first athlete to finish the run, and the first athlete to finish the roller ski event will be crowned winners. Following the parade at 11 a.m., the Jumpin' & Jammin' Fest will begin, and at 12:30 p.m. the elimination jump competition will take place.
"We came to the first events several years ago, and it's turned out to be an annual event for our team," U.S. Nordic combined coach David Jarrett said.
Jarrett said the idea of holding a roller ski cross country event just prior to the start of the Fourth of July Parade came from former coach Chris Gilbertson and has become a favorite event on many athletes who enjoy the top-level competition and the large crowds that pack Main Street for the holiday festivities.
Todd Wilson, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic director, said the Extravaganza has grown into one of the biggest events of the year for the program. This year, the event will include a beer garden and several other additions to make watching the event more enjoyable for the large crowds that come out.
"We will have 70 athletes this year, and we are trying a few new things to give the event more of a festive feel," Wilson said.
Jarrett said the event already has several things going for it including a terrific venue that includes the historic Howlesen Hill and the race on Lincoln Avenue. He said organizers also have found ways to streamline the events so that they are more appealing to the folks to head to Howelsen after the parade to take in a few rounds of jumping.