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I Believe I Can Hop

How to ski jump without killing yourself

Author Chris Wright Illustration Marc Rosenthal


GERMANY – On November 21, the 2015–16 FIS Ski Jumping World Cup kicks off in Klingenthal, Germany, where contestants will shoot down a 300-foot slope at speeds in excess of 60 mph, fly through the air for hundreds of feet, and then land (preferably on their skis). Here, a guide to surviving your own Alpine leap. 

1. The In-Run

The best place to try non-insane ski jumping is at a terrain park, a trail that has been kitted out with jumps and jibs. It is vital to maintain the correct speed for a particular ramp, but you won’t really know what this is until you either wipe out or don’t. Good luck.

2. Air Time

Hit the ramp with knees bent, torso parallel to the ground and eyes open. As you take off, straighten up, then resume an L-shaped posture once aloft. Push your weight forward so you don’t end up in a backward flip—which would be great for YouTube viewers but not for you.

3. The Landing

If you manage to approach the landing in an upright position, straighten up just before impact, touch down with the rear of the skis, then move into a near-crouch, allowing the knees and hips to absorb the impact. Then raise your arms and scream, “Whooo!”

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