Channel 4’s winter themed reality show The Jump is following a bunch of celebrities as they learn how to fling themselves off of a ski jump in Austria.
Olympic gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave has been learning to ski, former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt has gone from never having skied to topping the leader board. While Henry Conwall, Melinda Messenger and Darren Gough are all nursing injuries (you have been warned) they all seem up for the challenge and wishing they could do more.
But what can you tell from watching it from the comfort of your sofa, eh?
If you’ve been inspired to strap on a pair of skis and give it a go, where better to look than the host countries of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup?
Whether you’re a first-timer, professional boarder or skier, here’s a rundown of the best resorts for a ski break with some serious attitude…
Oberstdorf has five ski jumps, the highest of which reaches 125 metres and is used in the annual Four Hills tournament. The jump record of 143.5 metres was made in 2003 by Norwegian Sigurd Pettersen. The ski-jump stadium has four other jumps (100m, 60m, 30m and 19m) and is open all year around. In the summer crowds can watch flood lit mat-jumping.
Memmingen Airport is the closest international airport to Oberstdorf, approximately 100km west of Munich, in the Bavaria region of southern Germany.
Engelberg resort is home to the largest natural ski jump in the world and the biggest ski jumping facility in Switzerland. Rooted in the natural surroundings of the Gross-Titlis, the natural jump went under some reconstruction work at the start of the millennium and is now 123m long and 110m high. The World Cup Tour is held here every December, one of the most thrilling spectator events in the ski jump calendar.
Engelberg is a real people pleaser and as well as ski jumping it offers plenty of other things to do for snow lovers. Find out what other attractions there are in Engelberg with skisolutions.com.
The Felix Gottwald Ski Jump Stadium, Austria
The Felix Gottwald Ski Jump Stadium is located in the village of Uttenhofen in the Saalfelden area. It has four jumps at 15m, 30m, 60m and 85m. The site is open all year round; the two smaller jumps have been fitted with matting for summer ski jumping. As well as watching the daredevils use the jumps, there are two-day courses available for people to practise ski-jumping, starting on the lower slopes and building up height gradually.
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Pine Mountain Ski Jump, Michigan
Pine Mountain is one of the world’s highest artificial slopes and is considered one of the best jumping slopes within FIS standards. Located on Iron Mountain, up to 20,000 people can gather around this slope when competitions and tournaments take place. It’s a 120 metre jump and the estimated speed that jumpers reach before take-off is roughly 64mph!
There are four jumps which make up Switzerland’s Nationale Sprunganlage (National Ski Jumping Venue) in Einsiedeln. With four separate hill jumps, the venue hosts the hugely popular Summer Grand Prix ski jumping competitions every year. The jumps are opened all year round for professionals to train on but there are plenty of attractions for spectators to enjoy too, such as tobogganing, fondue nights and air-boarding (essentially getting to slide down the jumps on a blow up mattress!).
This FIS Nordic World Ski Championship jump is located in the Sapporo area and is one of the few 90 metre jumps in the world. It was used in the 1972 Winter Olympics and has been host to other ski jump tournaments since. When there isn’t a competition running, the public can access the top of the jump via a chairlift for amazing views of Sapporo. The museum has lots of memorabilia from the 1972 Olympics, including a virtual simulator of the jump for people to try out for themselves!
During winter Sapporo hosts the famous Sapporo Snow Festival attracting more than two million visitors each February from around the world.
Chamonix, French Alps
Although not home to a FSI ski jump, Chamonix (and many other resorts) build smaller ski jumps with huge inflatable crash mats, perfect if the thought of bombing down a 85m jump is a little beyond your skiing ability but you still want the thrill of a jump. Chamonix has an inflatable jump in their Brévent ski area, great for skiers or boarders looking to practise technique or just for beginners to get some serious air safely. For non-skiing thrill seekers, Chamonix is also home to a Glass Box Sky Walk, where only glass sheet separates people from a drop of more than a kilometre down the Aiguille du Midi mountain.