Most extreme sports involve the defying of gravity; it’s one of the first benchmarks on the way toward making something extreme. When the sport itself revolves around jumping, though, the stakes are raised much higher. Resisting gravity becomes an essential part of the act. This is exactly the case when it comes to ski-jumping: quite possibly the most concentrated of all extreme sports. These 5 extreme ski jumping videos put you in the perspective of the high-flying Adrenalists.
The most interesting thing about ski jumping may be the elaborate ramps involved. They are something that could not exist in nature, with long,perfectly downward-sloping arcs and curves that lead to the launching point. Mountains and hills may have a variety of steep declines and quick lifts, but few have the sudden, accelerating upward launch pad native to ski jumping. At first glance, it may seem like the athlete simply needs to fly off this ramp, but in fact this sport requires much greater nuance and skill.
One of the most amazing things about ski jumping is that it completely changes the narrative that usually surrounds skiing. The limitations are gone. You don’t need a snowy landscape, mountainous terrain or extreme cold. All you need is the ramp, metal tracks and thirst to go airborne.
Snow plays a huge part in anything having to do with skis. In the video above, we have a very classic video of someone with no ski jumping experience taking advantage of the opportunity go hurtling down the hill and eventually cresting a snowy rise and soaring through the air for a few seconds. When that crest at the end is specifically designed to send and keep skiers in the sky, you notice they cut a very linear and clearly arching path, and seem to come down very steadily where you would expect. This is important because, if it wasn’t the case, there would be far fewer ski jumpers. If it was too easy, however, who would actually value the sport at all?
As the skiier quickly makes his way through the ski jump in this video, he ends with feet pointed outstretched in both directions, a sort of mountain Icarus designed to build toward the ultimate flight, unbeholden to either the mountain he left behind or the gravity he will ultimately have to return to. You can’t just not go back to gravity, which is one of the most real and inimitable qualities of extreme sports: you are constantly leaving the sensation of being on Earth behind, and there are very few other recourses for doing that.
One of the most fascinating things about the jumps featured in this article is that you can always see the potential of the city before you. It seems to be gradually beckoning toward the jumper, as though to say, yes, this ramp is perfectly suited to what you’re trying to do, but remember: there’s so much else out in the world. No jump could ever cover the entire world, making the large ski jump seem all that much more significant: it gives you complete and impressive dominance over the surrounding area in a way that only height and vision can allow. If you can’t beat them, get a piece of land; and if you can’t get a piece of land, then fly over it on your skis.