Ski + Snowboard

Do-it-Yourself Olympic Winter Sports

by Sarah Tuff

Ski Jumping in Leavenworth, Washington

Sporting chance: Few sports, winter or summer, are as graceful and noble as ski jumping, where athletes zip down an inrun and take flight above an awe-inspired crowd. Ski jumping has given us Eddie the Eagle and Swiss wunderkind Simon Ammann—and an ugly legal battle for women ski jumpers, who are still fighting to be included in the Olympic Winter Games. In ski-mad Leavenworth, Washington (squint your eyes, and you might be in the Bavarian Alps), you can earn your wings where jumpers have been soaring since 1933. The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club helps fledglings get the hang of it; newbies start with training on the landing hill and progress to a 20-meter jump.

Training tip: All things going to plan, your flight time will be five to eight seconds. Prepare to land with one foot in front of the other to absorb impact.

Learning curve: Surprisingly shallow. Though ski jumpers can suffer some spectacular crashes, they aren't as far off the ground as they seem. Think more soar, less sore.

A day pass for Leavenworth Winter Sports Club is $12. Leavenworth's ski season usually lasts from December to early March, the jump is usually open on Saturday afternoons.

Next: Rock out in San Francisco >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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