Small Town, Big Jump

February 9, 2011 at 10:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Small Town, Big Jump

The biggest article in today’s New York Times sports section, occupying most of the first page, is not about the Super Bowl – or any major pro sport for that matter – but rather about the Salisbury Ski Jump.

Salisbury, Connecticut is a charming little town just a few miles south of Ski Butternut, known both for its bucolic beauty and its most unique feature: One of the last remaining town ski jumps in America.

Every year since 1926, that ski jump has played host to ski jumping competitions, usually of the low-key, regional variety, often open to participants of all ages. In fact, the annual competition has become such a staple of town life that large signs dot Main Street months in advance announcing the big event (which, this year, happens to be this weekend, Friday Feb 11 thru Sunday Feb 13, 2011), and a whole schedule of festivities is planned to coincide with the jumping.

For years, I’ve been threatening to go check it out, but sadly I’ve never actually made it. But I’m thinking that this year might be a good one to finally show up. Because, you see, the townspeople of Salisbury have accomplished something quite impressive. Faced with the inevitable decay of their rustic old wooden jump, and with the promise of a Junior Olympic championship if they built a new one, the president of the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (the nonprofit responsible for the jump) made a rash decision at a recent regional meeting: “Of course we’ll build it!” The thing is, he hadn’t actually gotten permission, or money, but that didn’t stop him. He returned to Salisbury, where the town voted 141-2 to build a new modern ski jump, raised nearly $700,000 in donations to do it, and got it done on time for this year’s events.

And so, in addition to the regional competition that has become an annual fixture, two weeks later (Feb 22-26, 2011), the Junior Olympics will be coming to Salisbury to give the new jump a whirl.

Pretty cool, eh?


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