Aerial Freestyle Skiing is a notoriously difficult event to follow. Skiers perform incredibly complex maneuvers, creating both suspense and awe. While this esoteric sport is a wintertime favorite, the athletes involved must train year-round. In areas with temperate climates, this can be difficult. Luckily, aerial freestylers can practice outside and in the middle of the summer… in Upstate New York.
The Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid has been around for a while, but it continues to be an invaluable resource for athletes in the area. There are currently eight Olympic hopefuls in training, living nearby, and jumping at least twice a day. In November, they’ll pack up their skis and head out to Park City, Utah to apply their new skills.
The Lake Placid ramp consists of a dampened plastic surface, which simulates the feeling of moving across snow. Air is pumped into the pool to break the surface tension of the water, lessening the sting of impact. Skiers launch from large ramps to fly over the length of a football field. This safe, season-defying, and (dare we say) fun alternative to the real deal allows athletes to build skills without risking serious injury. Mistakes can be made in the water that might result in career-ending accidents out on the snow.
In addition to providing an excellent training opportunity, the Olympic Jumping Complex is an excellent resource for those interested in trying the sport for the first time. This is the best way to learn the sport and build skills from the ground-up. Plus, these water jumps can qualify for the Olympics—qualify in the water, then compete on the snow.