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Ski Jumping World Cup in Utah this Weekend

Ski Jumping World Cup in Utah this Weekend

Posted - Feb. 25, 2004 at 4:09 p.m.



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Jed Boal ReportingIf you missed ski jumping during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, you have another chance to watch the daredevils soar this weekend in World Cup competition.

The last time these athletes were in Salt Lake was during the Olympics and they're not scheduled back for another two years. This weekend they'll headline a "Festival of Flight."

This leap year, even on leap day, the world's best ski jumpers will take a flying leap off the big hill. Former American jumper Kris Severson produces the show.

Kris Severson, Event Producer: “You're trying to skim across the air, just like you might skim across the water, or put your hand out the window of a car and feel that lift. That's the broader kind of lift you're trying to get here."

Jumpers shrug off questions about nerves of steel. They insist it’s all about practice and focus, but it obviously takes guts.

Clint Jones, U.S. Jumper-Olympian: “It's definitely a rush and it's not like any other sport. But we've been doing it so long we're not even focused on that kind of thing."

16-year old Chris Francis of Park City will jump in his first World Cup. He started here when he was five.

Chris Francis, U.S. Ski Jumper: “When I take a step back, it is overwhelming. But I've been thinking about this so long, and dreaming about it, it doesn't seem so."

When you see it on television, it's hard to get a sense of how fast they're moving and how far they're flying, but up close it's breathtaking.

Kris Severson, Event Producer: “Unless you come live and see it live you don't get the feeling for how spectacular it is. These guys really are floating like birds."

They hit highway speeds on the jump, fly 15 feet off the ground with the hill falling away, and touch down more than a football field away.

Chris Francis, U.S. Ski Jumper: “It's not a recognized extreme sport, but when people come and see it they realize how dangerous and on the edge it can be."

There will be entertainment after the jumping and a street party in Park City Saturday. Jumping starts at ten o'clock Saturday and Sunday at Olympic Park. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children or $30 for a family, and can be purchased through SmithsTix.

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