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World Cup returns to Lake Placid

Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi flies down the HS128 Hill at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid during the 2023 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup in Lake Placid. (News photo — Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID — For the second year in a row, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup is set to return to the Olympic Jumping Complex this weekend.

Last year’s event, which marked the first time this village hosted a World Cup ski jumping event since 1990, had a total spectator attendance for the weekend of 15,000, with 8,000 on Saturday and 7,000 on Sunday. State Olympic Regional Development Authority Communications Manager Darcy Norfolk said the event won’t have as many spectators this year, but it will still have a “very large audience.”

As of Tuesday, Norfolk said they were estimating around 2,500 spectators on Friday, Feb. 9 and between 5,000 to 6,000 spectators on both Saturday, Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11. Norfolk noted that the number could rise by this weekend.

The Polish-American community was particularly well-represented last year, with large groups traveling from New York metro, Chicago, Cleveland, Montreal, Toronto, Las Vegas and other parts of the world last year. Norfolk said ORDA continued its marketing efforts in Polish areas of the U.S., and she expects to see a large contingency of Polish Americans again this year but wasn’t sure if it would be as heavily Pole-dominated as last year.

“The Polish are not doing as well this year on the ski jumping (World Cup) circuit,” she said. “So it depends on the fan base in terms of how they come out regardless of how well they are doing.”

Currently, the top Polish ski jumper is Aleksander Zniszczol, who ranks 23rd in the World Cup ski jumping standings with 131 points. Dawid Kubacki and Piotr Zyla, who won the Super Team competition in Lake Placid last year, are currently 25th and 26th, respectively.

Lake Placid is one of the stops on the World Cup tour that began in Finland on Nov. 11 and will conclude with the traditional FIS Ski Flying final in Planica, Slovenia, in March.

Austria’s Stefan Kraft is the World Cup standings leader with 1,129 points. Germany’s Andreas Wellinger is second with 951 points and Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi is third with 896.

Lake Placid native Tate Frantz, who leads the United States in the World Cup standings with 14 points for 45th place overall, will not be competing this weekend. Instead, Frantz, who made his ski jumping World Cup debut in Lake Placid last year, will be competing in the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Slovenia.

The U.S. will be represented by Andrew Urlaub, Casey Larson, Decker Dean and Kevin Bickner in Lake Placid. All four athletes competed in Willingen, Germany, this past weekend.

The competition, which will take place on the HS 128 jump, will kick off at 5 p.m. on Feb. 9 with the qualification round. On Feb. 10, the first individual competition will be at 8:15 a.m., followed by the super team competition at 5 p.m. The event will conclude on Feb. 11 with a second individual competition at 8 a.m.

New this year will be the Stifel Sno Bird Days festivities that will include live music by Fritz’s Polka Band and DJ Trizz during breaks in the competition as well as before and after the event.

Last year’s World Cup in Lake Placid was the first time a ski jumping World Cup had been held in the United States since 2004. This village hosted FIS Ski Jumping World Cups eight years in a row between 1983 and 1990. The Olympic Jumping Complex has undergone renovations, which included upgrading the jumping surface and reshaping the landing hill to meet the latest international standards required for hosting FIS World Cup-level events.

“It’s become one of the most popular events, and everyone gets excited to come out for a regional and international spectator base,” Norfolk said. “We’re excited just to be able to bring the opportunity to North America and Lake Placid in general.”

Tickets can be purchased on the Olympic Jumping Complex website at http://tinyurl.com/te2y3kjx.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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