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OLYMPIC HISTORY: Summer ski jumping

July 16, 2015
By ALISON HAAS , Lake Placid News

The snow might have melted, but the ski jumps are still in use as athletes continue to soar through the warm summer air.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Lake Placid has watched ski jumpers speed down ramps in the summer months.

Originally, ice and snow was removed from area lakes and stored until the summer's first ski jumping events. Workers would bring the ice to the jumps, crush it and then spread the snow along the length of the take-off and landing area.

Article Photos

Athletes and spectators watch a summer ski jumping event from the past.
(Photo courtesy of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum)

Eventually Europeans developed artificial surfaces for summer ski jump training and Lake Placid took note of this much less laborious method. Today, jumpers glide over half-cut porcelain marbles and plastic shingles slicked by a coat of water gaining speeds of nearly 60 mph before taking flight and landing on a layered synthetic surface.

To see this high-flying sport, all one needs to do is venture over to the Olympic Jumping Complex to view the summer athletes training as they replicate the same speeds and jumping distances of the winter.

To learn more information about the history of ski jumping, please visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum on Main Street.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Ironman Sunday. For more information about the museum, visit our website at



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