ALASKA IS NOW ON THE MAP FOR SKI JUMPING after developing the only year-round jumping complex in the state. Karen Compton, ski jumping director of Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage, says the addition of such a facility opens many doors in the community. “This is a huge deal for kids,” she said. “This is the only ski club in America that did not have access for summer jumps. … They had to fly kids out of state.” All ages came out to practice on the new grounds, like 10-year-old Savonna Rygh. A regular in the wintertime, she tried out the ski jump for the first time this summer. “(It’s) fun because it doesn’t hurt as much as winter,” she said. To prepare for year-round jumping, the organization had to raise money for the special grass used to imitate snow when wet and assemble a sprinkler system to keep the area groomed for skiers.
This project took about three years to complete, and NSAA is still finishing up its final and largest ski jump on the property. The next step for the association is to host national competitions. In summer 2018, the club plans on bringing the U.S. Seniors Championship. It also has made additional efforts into expanding the ski jumping community in Alaska by providing more support for females in the sport. Compton said six years ago there were no girls on the team. Now, half of the kids participating in the summer are females. “We have a female coach – it has been drawing a lot of girls to our program,” Compton added. She also believes that after the Sochi Olympics allowed women to compete in ski jumping, it has sparked interest in families to come try it out.
To learn more about NSAA, go to anchoragenordicski.com/jumping-nordic.
— Kensey Finnegan A