Howelsen Hill hosts visiting teams but not annual 4th of July competition
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Just as much as people filling up Lincoln Avenue, summer ski jumping at Howelsen Hill is a sign that the world is starting to reopen.
Usually, action on the larger hills on the first day of July is training for the annual Jumpin’ and Jammin’ competition, which is traditionally held over the Fourth of July holiday. The event, which features roller ski racing down Lincoln Avenue and a ski jumping competition on a sprayed-down plastic-covered hill, was canceled for the first time in its 15-year history.
“Really, it’s not as worrisome for the actual event as it is for people gathering at the bottom,” said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic Combined Director Todd Wilson. “We thought it was the safe, right thing to do.”
Still, hometown kids and visiting teams are taking advantage of the facility and the summer weather to get in some training. In addition to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes, eight Park City athletes are using the hills on Howelsen. Park City practices at a separate time, and the SSWSC athletes train in small groups and maintain a 10-foot social distance.
The athletes aren’t using the locker rooms, and all training is conducted outside. Physical contact with peers and coaches is avoided unless absolutely necessary. When walking up to the large jumps, or on the magic carpet lift near the small jumps, there are markings indicating how far apart athletes should be. The SSWSC is making sure jumpers don’t crowd at the start structure at the top of the jumps.
“We’re a lucky sport,” Wilson said. “There’s some sports, like wrestling, that are just impossible to do under the circumstances. But we only have one athlete on the jump at a time, and there’s no physical contact with another athlete, so it’s pretty easy to keep the distancing that’s required.”
Wilson added that if extra training sessions are needed to help maintain social distancing, they will add them, but as of now, things are running smoothly.
Starting July 6, Howelsen will host the USA Nordic Fly Girls and Fly Guys camps, starting. Wilson said Park City being thrown into the mix was a bit of a test, and the Fly Camps will determine whether Howelsen is able to host other teams in the near future.
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