Ski jumpers use temporary ramp on Calgary hill after WinSport facility closes
'Just like any of our athletes, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to training'
Ski Jumping Canada is giving its young athletes a portable place to soar since WinSport shut down its jump facilities late last year.
The group built a makeshift ski jump and set it up at Turtle Hill in the southwest community of Glendale.
"Just like any of our athletes, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to training and what we like to do, and that's fly," said Todd Stretch, president of Ski Jumping Canada.
WinSport Canada announced plans to remove its jumping facilities at Canada Olympic Park after a municipal plebiscite halted plans for a Calgary bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games last year.
Thanks to the makeshift jump, which cost about $500 to construct, the aspiring athletes can regularly work on their skills.
Nik Petrov, who teaches young jumpers, says the portable jump works well, but it's not the ideal setup.
"In order to go to the next step, we do need the facilities and the hills that are there on the proper design and the proper terrain," he said.
The organization is working toward setting up a new Calgary nordic facility within the next three years that will accommodate cross-country biathlon, ski jumping and nordic combined, which incorporates ski jumping and cross-country skiing.
"From a cross-country perspective, it's much easier to put cross-country trails in than to build new ski jumps," Stretch said.
"And those ski jumps would be small hills, not the large towers you see in the skyline. It would be an 18-, a 30- and a 60-metre [jump], and that's really what we need."