A Jump Above the Rest
Practice starts at 5 pm. We head out to the jump after dark, where our jumps are lit up and we begin practice. We have a 20-meter jump and a 30 meter as well. We tend to divide into two groups during practice, one for the 20-meter and one for the 30. Almost all of our jumpers are comfortable on the 20 and quite a few of us are comfortable on the 30 as well.
After hiking up all the stairs, jumpers finally make it to the top of one of the jumps where they start their preparation to go down. Our coach helps us with our in-run position, which is similar to a racer tuck. While standing at the top of the jump, your heart feels like it is about to jump right out of your chest, especially if it is your first time. That initial adrenaline rush has to be one of the best things in life you can experience, it is exhilarating. Many jumpers enjoy the natural high that the sport brings and always are hiking back up to the top in search of more of that feeling.
"For many jumpers, the fear itself does not come with going off the jump, but having to land."
Our skis are long and with no edges, making landing the jump the hardest part. It can be very difficult for beginner jumpers to learn how to stop without falling. Many start with a pizza or a “V” stop and then progressively work on mastering a hockey stop. Another goal for ski jumpers is to land in a telemark position, one foot further in front of other. Landing this way at competitions gives you more style points which you get judged on as well as the distance you jumped.
Our team is a group of well rounded kids who love to spend as much time as we can on the jump. Last year we spent most of our practices packing due to how much snow we got. Luckily this year our first day jumping was December 5th, 2018, the earliest we have jumped since our current coach, Chip Henry, has been coaching. We got a groomer for this season and use a friends Kubota to pull the groomer. This helps cut down on the amount of packing. This year our team consists of twelve jumpers one of which is at the middle level. We hold practices at the ski jump off of the Kancamagus Highway in Albany NH. In 2017 and 2018 we took home the state title and at the 2018 state champion meet we had jumpers place first and third for boys and second for girls.
The atmosphere at Kennett meets is completely different from any other meet you will attend. We have had the Boy Scouts and the Kennett Key Club selling hot chocolate and other goodies in past years at our home meets. As well as doing a 50/50 raffle during the meet. Many locals enjoy coming out to our home meets because of how unique and fun the sport is. We tend to have about 500 people come out to support our jumpers with cowbells and encouraging cheers. If you ever attend a Kennett meet you will see a massive bonfire, young kids watching the jumpers and playing on the snow banks as well as parents, grandparents and alumni. Everyone loves to watch their friends and family hurl themselves off the jump.
As well as doing fundraisers at our home meet we put together dine to donate fundraisers during our off season. Last spring we had a fundraiser at the Shannon Door Pub in Jackson NH where we had raffle items and made a dollar off of every pizza sold. This fall we had another fundraiser held at Barley and Salt in North Conway NH. This was similar to the Shannon Door fundraiser. We would not be able to put these together without the help of our amazing parents and the support of the locals in the Mt. Washington valley community.