Strong Field Expected for U.S. Ski Jumping Championships
Kevin Bickner, show here competing at the 2016 U.S. Championships, is one of many strong contenders competing for a title in 2017. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Tom Kelly)
PARK CITY, UT (July 25, 2017) – Park City's Olympic ski jumps will kick off the Olympic season with the first U.S. Championship of 2017-18. A full contingent of the top men's and women's ski jumpers will compete in the large hill event of the U.S. Ski Jumping Championships on Saturday, July 29. Fans can live stream the event from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. MDT. The event on the HS134-meter hill is a part of the 19th annual Jindro Mayer Springer Tournee, culminating a week of competitions at the Utah Olympic Park for ski jumpers of all ages.
The normal hill ski jumping championship, along with nordic combined, will be held in October at Lake Placid, NY.
Local Will Rhoads (Park City, UT/Park City Nordic) will be going for a third straight U.S. title on the large hill after narrowly defeating teammate Kevin Bickner (Wauconda, IL/Norge Ski Club) for the gold in 2016. Bickner went on to have the strongest season for a U.S. jumper in over a decade last year, including the setting of a new American distance record of 244.5 meters. Earlier this month, Bickner finished third in a Continental Cup in Kranj, Slovenia - a career best at that level. Casey Larson (Barrington, IL/Norge Ski Club), who took bronze for the men last year, scored a top-10 finish in the Junior World Championships at the Utah Olympic Park this past February. Michael Glasder (Cary, IL/Norge Ski Club), who won the normal hill gold two years ago, should also be a factor.
Rhoads, who swept both title events last year, will be going for three in a row. He has also won the last two large hill titles. Bickner, who has a host of silver and bronze medals, will be seeking his first U.S. title.
USA Nordic Coach Clint Jones expects a hotly contest battle. The team is just back from a training camp in Slovenia focusing mainly on equipment and physical conditioning, with the U.S. Championships quickly shifting the focus to competition.
The women's field will be among the strongest in recent years with a full contingent of U.S. jumpers coming back from European training camps to vie for the national title. Among those anticipated to battle for medals is 2013 world champion Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT/Women's Ski Jumping USA). It will be her first U.S. Championships appearance since she won the normal hill crown at Lake Placid in October of 2014.
Hendrickson will face strong challenges from Nita Englund (Florence, WI/Kiwanis Ski Club), Tara Geraghty-Moats (West Fairlee, VT/Women's Ski Jumping USA) and Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, NY/New York Ski Education Foundation). Each of the four jumpers has won a national title in the last three years. Last year's winner, Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT/Women's Ski Jumping USA), is not competing.
With early season training focus centered more on the normal hill, Women's Ski Jumping USA Coach Alan Alborn is looking for it to be wide open in the battle for the U.S. title on the HS134 meter hill. Ski Jump
Admission is free for Saturday's championship event with a trial round plus two competition jumps.
U.S. SKI JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS AND SPRINGER TOURNEE SCHEDULE