At a certain level of expertise, most sports aren’t as fun with both feet planted on the ground. Sometimes getting some big air is the only prescription for a fever brought on by the need for extreme daring. We recently explored this phenomenon in our feature on Extreme Parkour Jumps. The story’s the same on skis.
There’s a time for every skier when cruising down slopes at speeds as fast as most highway-bound cars just doesn’t cut it. It’s at this moment that an Adrenalist must resort to drastic measures in order to get his blood pumping again.
Here are the most extreme ski jumps ever recorded.
When most of us think about ski jumping, we picture pulling off iron cross 360s at terrain parks in Tahoe and not about Norwegian ski jumping champion Johan Remen Evensen. The truth is, Evensen should be more firmly planted in our minds. In 2011, just one year before retiring, he set a stunning world record at the World Cup qualifiers in Norway when he made a 808-foot (246.5 meter) leap from his launch point. More impressive than hearing that statistic is watching Evensen establish it. His level of coordination, concentration, and technical prowess is literally unparalleled.
Who said all ski jumps had to end with a clean landing? Certainly not the late professional freeskier Jamie Pierre who, before his tragic death in 2011 by avalanche, set a world record for highest cliff jump when he leapt off a 255-foot-high cliff face at the Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming, which shattered the previous record of 225 feet. As you can see from the bone-chilling video footage, Pierre didn’t land the jump (only 007 could do that). However he managed to survive almost entirely unscathed and ski away after his partners dug him out of a hole that was reportedly 12 feet deep. This is one jump we really wouldn’t want to try to replicate.
You didn’t think we’d leave off the fancy stuff, did you? Records are glorious, but so are perfectly executed tricks pulled off by two men at the top of their respective games. This compilation features pro freeskiers, Tom Wallisch and Henrik Harlaut, performing with ease some of the most complex maneuvers in the game. Watching reminds us of the beauty achievable through tireless practice and dedication to your passion, whatever it is. No records are on the line for Wallisch and Harlaut. They’re just enjoying the fruits of their training and the limitlessness of the motivated human mind. The flashy tricks make us want to watch but the underlying complexity of those inspires us to learn.
How high is high enough? The answer to that question would probably elude most. For pro freeskier and X Games medalist Grete Eliassen, it’s clear. Just over 31 feet. That’s how high she had to fly to set the women’s world record for highest ski jump. To create the ideal environment for the jump, the staff at Utah’s The Canyons resort specially groomed more than 25 miles of snow. Traveling at speeds of up to 60 mph, Eliassen showed off ski hops that are unlike anything we’ve seen. The coolest part about this whole effort may be that it was orchestrated not as part of some larger competition, but so Eliassen could accomplish a personal goal. Champion or not, everyone has dreams.
Surfing is to water, as skiing is to jumping out of a plane. No, wait, that’s not right, unless you’re talking about aerial stunt specialist, two-time FAI World Champion and double world record holder, Oliver Furrer. Furrer jumped out of a plane flying over the Swiss Alps while donning full ski regalia (poles too). Two things are abundantly apparent after watching Furrer’s unique exhibition. First, from a trick performance point of view, nothing beats being airborne for minutes on end. Second, skiing on grass is actually physically feasible. Check out 1:17 for proof.
Cover Photo Credit: tpower1978 / Flickr.com