Ski jumping, widely considered to be one of the original extreme sports, is a competitive skiing event in which contestants ski down a steep curved ramp and look to build up speed in order to cover large distances through the air once they exit the ramp. The sport has been a part of the Winter Olympics since 1924, with hills and skier techniques evolving in recent years to allow for even longer jumps.
While ski jumping is not for everyone due to its dangerous nature, it is nonetheless an exciting event that features impressive displays of athleticism.
When competing in a ski jumping event, the participant starts in a crouched position at the top of a hill. Once the signal is given indicating the skier has permission to start, the skier takes off downhill and rapidly builds speed as the bottom of the ramp is reached. This process is known as the in-run and is followed by the take-off, in which the skier pushes off the ramp and is propelled into the air. While in flight, the skier attempts to position his/her skis in a V-shape in order to maximize surface area and achieve a safe landing. Although the ski jumper is never more than 10-15 feet above the ground, the high starting speed and changing wind currents make it challenging to maintain control through the air. The landing marked the end of the stunt, in which the skier bends slightly at the knees and makes impact with ground. Although the landing aspect isn't particularly difficult for an experienced ski jumper, it is nonetheless vitally important as a soft landing is crucial to the skier's safety.
An important part of ski jumping is the scoring system. Ski jumpers earn points from a panel of knowledgeable judges based on the distance covered from the ramp to the landing zone, as well as any tricks that are successfully performed in-air.