Rebirth of ski jumping

From the "cradle" of Planica, ski jumping has spread throughout Slovenia

February 2012

The Planica valley is situated under Mount Ponca (2242 m) in the north-west of Slovenia and close to the borders with Italy and Austria.  In 1936, the valley hosted its first ski jumps – the most interesting and attractive of all winter sports. Seventy-six years have passed since the first ski jump of 101 metres was achieved in 1936 by the legendary Austrian, Sepp Bradl; however, the jumps have consistently increased in range, deserving utmost admiration. The hill record is as long as 239 metres, while the world ski jump record of 246.5 metres was set last year in Vikersund, Norway. 

From the "cradle" of Planica, ski jumping has spread throughout Slovenia. Ski jumping clubs can now be found in the majority of Slovenian regions, with over 1,000 boys and girls practising the sport.

This year, ski jumping in Slovenia has received fresh impetus. In all competitions, Slovenian jumpers are ranked among the world ski jumping elite.

Anže Lanišek – a new jumping star

Anže Lanišek. Photo: STA

Fifteen-year-old Anže Lanišek from Mengeš has suddenly emerged from among the best ski jumpers as a new ski jumping sensation. Lanišek won at the Youth Olympic Games (for children aged up to 16) in Innsbruck, and he took fifth place in his first appearance at the Continental Cup. Only one day later, on the famous Paul Ausserleitner hill in Bischofshofen, he beat 73 competitors from 19 countries to take the Continental Cup title.  Thus, at barely 15 years of age, he became the youngest winner of this contest. Anže will probably soon be given the opportunity to participate in the World Cup, as he has demonstrated remarkable composure, superb technique and behaved like a true champion.

Goran Janus, the head coach of the Slovenian ski jumping team about the young ski jumper from Mengeš: "Anže is a real pearl. He trains with an exceptional ease, he is a born jumper. His talent is remarkable, as much as Peterka's – maybe even more. I hope puberty will not affect his development. If he is able to withstand the rigors of training and competition, Slovenia has a ski jumping champion for the next 15 seasons."

Gold and team bronze for Slovenia in Vikersund

Slovenia's Robi Kranjec took the ski-flying world title on the world's biggest flying hill in Vikersund on 25 February. He won gold for jumps of 217.5 metres and 244 metres, which is Slovenia's new record and the third longest jump in the history of ski-flying. Jurij Tepeš finished on the 14th place and Jure Šinkovec on the 27th.

One day later, Slovenia wonteam bronze at the Ski Flying World, the second medal at the event after Kranjec was crowned champion in the individual competition a day before. The team included Kranjec, who also had the longest jumps on the Slovenian team (235.5 and 205 metres), Jurij Tepeš (202 and 217.5 metres), Jernej Damjan (202 and 211 metres) and Jure Šinkovec (199.5 and 208 metres).

The Vikersund ski-flying hill is currently the largest in the world, since it can accommodate jumps of up to 250 metres. It was constructed by the Slovenian engineer, Janez Gorišek, who is also planning the reconstruction of our giant Planica ski jumping hill for next year.

World Cup Finals in Planica

Numerous ski jumping fans in Planica. Photo: Primož Lavre (source: UKOM archive)

Is the year of 2012 finally going to see the first Slovenian ski jumper win at Planica?

The second ski jumping development will be the World Cup Finals in Planica. This year, three World Cup competitions are envisaged to take place under Mount Ponca : one team and two individual competitions. Thus far, no Slovenian ski jumper has yet won a competition at the Planica ski jumping hill. Is the year of 2012 finally going to see the first Slovenian ski jumper win at Planica – the home of ski jumping and flying?  Last year, Robert Kranjec came second, just behind Poland's Kamil Stoch. However, to rub salt into the wound, Kranjec's ski jump was 10 metres longer than Stoch's, but new rules on wind assistance meant Stoch took the victory. Planica will once again be too small for ski jumping fans. As is the case every year, a four-day competition (three competitions and a qualifications day) will be viewed by over 60,000 people. Planica is the Slovenian sports event and last week of the year when all Slovenians are totally united.  The credit for this goes to ski jumping and our Planica.

Text by Andrej Stare, STA; full text in Sinfo, February 2012 
Photo: STA