LAKE PLACID - The summer ski jumping season officially kicks off Saturday, July 2 with a competition on the 90-meter ramp at the Olympic Jumping Complex.
The July 2 winner will have a leg up on the 2011 Art Devlin Cup chase. This is a season-long series that includes the July 2 event, the Flaming Leaves meet in October and the Masters Ski Jump in December.
Summer ski jumping actually began on snow in the early 20th century when blocks of ice were removed from area lakes and stored until needed for the competitions. This ice was brought to the jumps and crushed into the hill. Crews laboriously spread this "snow" along the length of the site to allow the event to occur.
In the late-1980s this all changed when artificial surfaces, introduced in Europe for summer training, made their way to Lake Placid. Now the in-run, where the jumpers gain speed, is made of porcelain tile troughs, while the landing hill features a synthetic surface layered like a thatched roof. When the in-run and the landing hill are watered, the result is a winter replica of speeds and jumping distance.
The biggest difference between summer and winter ski jumping is the weather. Lake Placid is one of the few sites in the world where you can see this winter sport while wearing shorts and a polo shirt.
Admission to the July 2 event is $15 for adults, $9 for juniors and seniors and includes a chairlift ride and an elevator ride to the top of the 120-meter ski jump. Food and drinks will be offered by Centerplate, ORDA's concessionaire. Centerplate will provide summertime fare, with indoor and outdoor dining, while spectators enjoy all the jumping.
Admission to the event is included when purchasing an Olympic Sites Passport, which gives visitors access to all of ORDA's Olympic venues-from Whiteface Mountain to the Olympic Sports Complex and everything in between.
For more information about all of the activities this summer at ORDA's venues, log on to www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.