Hill Size Magazine Issue 5

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Hill Size Magazine

Photo: M. Eisenbichler Size Magazine SkiHill jumping magazine

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issue no 5 / july 2017


Editor in Chief Przemysław Wardęga wardega@hillsizemagazine.com Deputy Editor in Chief Martyna Ostrowska ostrowska@hillsizemagazine.com Assistant editor Maria Grzywa grzywa@hillsizemagazine.com Graphic Design Aleksander Milejski Magdalena Gawlik-Łęcka Mock up the magazine Magdalena Piwowar Advertisement reklama@hillsizemagazine.com Cooperation: Aneta Biedroń, Ewa Bilan-Stoch, Ewa Blaszk, Jagoda Bodzianny, Karolina Chyra, Klaudia Feruś, Natalia Konarzewska, Jakub Kot, Mikołaj Szuszkiewicz, Dominika Wiśniowska Publisher Akademickie Inkubatory Przedsiębiorczości ul. Piękna 68, 00-672 Warszawa Adress of the editorial office AIP VISTULA (Hill Size Magazine) ul. Stokłosy 3, 02-787 Warszawa Contact adress Hill Size Magazine Kręta 7/7, 50-237 Wrocław Photo on the cover Maria Grzywa

Partners:

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Photo: Przemysław Wardęga

table of contents

4 Johann Andre Forfang 6 Made in Austria 10 Markus Eisenbichler 14 Kongsberg 18 Arne Åbråten 22 raw air 26 Maren Lundby 28 Photostory Planica 2017

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Interview: Martyna Ostrowska Edited by Joanna Byczek

Silver worth its weight in gold The second round of World Championships team competition in Lahti. The wind takes control over the contest and it also sweeps away Norwegians chance for a medal. Then Johann Andre Forfang with just one 138 m jump beats the eleven-year-old hill record and provides his team with a silver medal.

How did you feel during the team competition in Lahti when you knew that Anders Fannemel jumped only 112.5 m and the medal is gone? You were sitting on the bar at the top of the hill and...

– Me and the rest of guys were a little bit shaken. Everyone was fighting only for good jumps then because the 3rd place was far behind. What I did

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do before my jump? I started to feel a little bit relaxed because I knew that we were not fighting for the podium. I said to myself: that is okay, just do it. Then I got a hill record and suddenly we were back in the game. I think the feeling before the jump was much worse for Andreas Stjernen who was sitting at the top and was the last one in our team. He could have given up at the start of

the second round but then he knew that we still have a chance to be on the podium. He was really focused and fought for the medal. We did our job, so it was not a problem for me but I think it was much more stressful for Andreas Stjernen and Daniel Andre Tande who were jumping after me.

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photos: Przemyslaw Wardega

Johann Andre Forfang

I started to feel a little bit relaxed because I knew that we were not fighting for the podium. I said to myself: that is okay, just do it. Then I got a hill record and suddenly we were back in the game.

Did you feel strong enough to break a hill record and fight for the medal?

– I felt that my jumping was on a pretty high level at that moment. I thought that I could manage to be our best guy and that was what I did. Your season hasn't been really good so far. What have you changed before the World Championships in Finland?

– I had three weeks at home. I trained every day at the hill and tried to practice some different techniques. It paid off. Obviously that was really good training for me. That was a great decision not to travel around before the World Championships and to skip some competitions. Staying at home and trying to find a better shape was exactly what I needed. After that really stressful team competition, did you feel like the winners?

– Poland was really difficult to beat. They were jumping really well. Everyone in the Polish team made good jumps

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that day. For us it was really important to get the medal even though we had that one bad jump. I can say that getting a silver was like a gold for us. 

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Text and photos: Martyna Ostrowska Edited and translated by Barbara Zur

Made in Austria

The main building of Schigymansium in Stams

Is it sorcery or maybe carefully prepared potions that make the Austrian athletes shine so bright in the winter sports competitions? And maybe a magical power is responsible for the abundance of great athletes in Austria. No, these are not mysterious spells from Hogwarts but hard work and sweat on a pitch, in a gym and in a classroom of the ski academy in Stams. One might say that the Austrian sportsmen are doomed to succeed.

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A talent factory There are gymnasiums, gyms, physiotherapy facilities and a swimming pool. It is not a five star hotel but a place where the biggest Austrian sport stars are trained. The well-equipped training centre in Stams, not far from Innsbruck, was a starting point for many athletes, including Stefan Kraft, who was the best ski jumper last season. Almost all of the ski jumpers attended the academia. Thomas Morgenstern seems to be the only exception in the past few years. It was a sunny afternoon when Rupert Guertler was my guide in the famous Schigymnasium. "Michael Hayboeck and Gregor Schlierenzauer were in my training group. Heinz Kuttin was my first pupil. I am very proud that I have trained the current coach of the national ski jumping team," said Rupert.

The everyday life Rupert Guertler is a former ski jumper and the oldest ski jumping coach in Stams. He took part in the Olympics in Innsbruck in 1976. He also studied physical education and

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Stams

English studies. “A lot of things have changed for the better since I first started training future ski jumpers. The same thing can be said about the place we are in right now" said Rupert. I met him in the school's main building. "In the beginning we lived in a farmer's cottage at the bottom of the village. There are girls' dormitories now. For the first ten years the school was situated in the abbey and then everything was moved here. Nowadays the building is divided into three parts - classrooms, training facilities with the indoor swimming pool and boys’ dormitories. The kitchen is upstairs,” he said. In the school everything is done with the students’ needs in mind. Lessons are scheduled in such a way as to ensure that the training takes place in the best weather conditions possible. “Lessons start at 7:50 am and finish just before lunch time. Then the athletes have their training. In winter the schedule changes. Twice a week we train in the morning and the lessons are moved to the afternoon. It is all because weather conditions are much better in the mornings. This is especially important for the alpine skiers and ski jumpers,” he explained. There are ski jumping hills in Stams K-105 and K-65. “We train on them in summer. In winter we go to Seefeld. There is no point in using snowmaking equipment on our hills since there are very good ones just a stone's throw from Stams. In summer we stay put, there is no need for us to go anywhere else because the weather conditions are good here. That simplifies things for us,” said

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Jumping hills in Stams

The gym

Rupert. The school uses the state-of-the-art training equipment and the young athletes have access to their own waxing room where they can maintain their skis. Nutrition, which is so important in the young athletes’ development, is not taken lightly in the school. We reach the canteen which is upstairs. The meals are prepared by a professional chef from the four star hotel in the Oetztal valley. The school pays a great deal of attention to the nutrition. It is not always an easy task to prepare one menu for everyone. Depending on the sport, the athletes have different dietary requirements. But our chef takes all that into account and all the meals are prepared so that they target

The skiers can carry out the ski maintenance here.

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The meals are prepared by a professional chef from the four star hotel in the Oetztal valley. The school pays a great deal of attention to nutrition.

the athletes’ specific needs depending on which sport they practice. There is also a buffet and a salad bar. New students receive guidance and tips about healthy lifestyle in the first days after arriving to this school. They are advised to cut down especially sweets and sugary drinks. Coffee is allowed but of course within reason.

Not just a sport The school works like a well-oiled machine. The good organisation is essential. The training sessions are planned in such a way so that only one group is using a given equipment at a time. The school year in Schigymansium looks quite different from the other schools. Physical training takes a lot of the students' time in comparison with their peers. “When autumn starts, every two weeks our young athletes have training four days a week, from Sunday to Thursday. The school is closed during this period. The fact that we can close the school and train is very important to us and our students. It could not be done in a regular

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school. Trying to reconcile training sessions with lessons would not be possible in the long run. Due to our schedule there is 20-30 hours less allocated for learning during those months but, as education is important for as well, we make up for them later in the year by having the classes on Saturdays. We do what we can to ensure that our students have the best conditions for training and that is why our school is run differently from a regular Austrian school. In order to fulfil all the educational requirements our students stay in school one year longer,” explained Rupert. Despite the fact that the school is famous for delivering great training, the education is also a very important part of students’ everyday life. “The students do not get any special treatment, be it maths, geography or chemistry, even though it may seem like that would be the case. The school keeps high standards. We want our students to leave school both well-trained and educated. It is not a place for those who are interested only in training. All student must be prepared to fulfil not only their

We meet Arno Staudacher (right) in the canteen. He has been the school's headmaster since 2005.

sports related goals but the educational ones too," added Rupert.

Three stars in one class How the results of those exams correspond to the future successful sports careers are best shown using examples. “During one of the academic years Gregor Schlierenzauer, Manuel Poppinger and Mario Innauer were together in one class. They were the best during the entry exams. This demonstrates that the tests are reliable. More often than not, if someone distinguishes themselves during the examination they will be successful in their sport endeavours,” said Rupert. However, to a great extent, in the first few years, trainers are those people who influence the children's future successes and career paths. “The education of coaches of the winter sports is important. We put emphasize on experience. We are lucky because we have well-functioning local clubs. The communication between clubs and trainers is of a great importance. Austria is a small country so it is a little bit easier for us than, for example, for

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Stams Germans. Clubs over there are far away from each other and each region operates independently. There has been a good change in Austria. The communication with younger training groups has become better after Heinz Kuttin joined us. Thanks to that the youth has more respect for the older people and knows what steps need to be undertaken to be able to take their place one day. They have their role models and they aspire to be like them,” said Rupert. It is not surprising then that 80% of trainers of national teams during the World Cup are Austrian. The system implemented in Austria works well and that is the reason why the Austrian trainers are so appreciated around the world. Rupert knows the topic inside out because he coordinates training of future coaches. “It is our responsibility to educate the coaches. There are two stages. The first one is to become a ski jumping instructor. The course lasts 15 days, normally it takes place during four weekend training sessions. The second stage is a so-called special trainer. The course is held every eight years. The training is still very popular which means that we do a good job. We also collaborate with the university in Innsbruck. We are growing and expanding,” said Rupert.

They are like shooting starts You can see that tradition is still present in Stams. During my stay I met Noah who is Andreas Widhoelzl's son. “Many young athletes follow into their parents’ footsteps. Right now we have been waiting for Werner Schuster's son to come to our school,” said Rupert. The shortage of those who are able to be the successors of the Austrian winter sports stars is an abstract concept. And even though it is not magic, the flesh-and-blood ski jumpers ready to win it all are like shooting stars in Austria. 

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Hill Size Magazine caught Noah Widhoelzl’s eye. His friends liked it too.

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Interview: Maria Grzywa

Photos: Maria Grzywa/Przemyslaw Wardega

Edited by Ewa Blaszk

perfectionist When your hometown is a place, where everybody loves biathlon and every kid trains hard to become a successful biathlete, being a ski jumper is really difficult. Last winter Markus Eisenbichler, who started his sport career in Ruhpolding, made his dream come true when he became a World Champion. Now the German hopes that his dream will become a dream of young athletes from Ruhpolding. Andreas Wellinger and you were the team leaders during World Championships in Lahti. And both of you were on the podium. We can say that the pressure was a good motivation for both of you.

- Yes, it was a really good motivation for us; it was awesome to be on the podium. And two German guys achieved it during World Championships. It was a hard fight but it gave us a lot of energy for the next competitions. If someone before the World Championships offered you a gold medal

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in the mixed team competition or bronze medal in the individual competition, which would you choose?

- Hmmm‌ Nothing. Before the World Championships I was not in a stable shape. A lot of guys were in a better shape than me. Kamil Stoch or Michael Hayboeck, they showed it in the last competitions before the World Championships. Also Peter Prevc showed his power. For me it was a huge thing to be on the podium. Not only in the mixed team competition but also in the individual competition. Everybody would like to have a gold medal and right now I have one and

I’m lucky to have the bronze medal too. This bronze is a little bit more important to me because it was my first medal ever. What in your opinion has changed after Roar Ljoekelsoey joined your team? Has the training program changed?

- The training program maybe not but he was a really great ski flyer which gave him a big knowledge about it. He also knows a lot about technical things and mistakes during jumps on the small hill. I think it is important not to just look on the paper, what you are doing wrong but

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Markus Eisenbichler

it is also important what you are doing during the flight, which is the longest part of the jump. If you know what to do better during the flight you can make your jumps longer. He has showed me how to be a little bit more stable while landing. It isn’t perfect but it’s getting better and better. It was the best season in your career. What was the reason? What are your thoughts on it?

- Honestly? I don’t know, really (laugh) You missed the pre-Olympic trial in Pyeongchang. Right now, do you think it was a good decision?

- For me it was a really good decision. Long way to Japan, next Pyeongchang and after that we had to be ready for Lahti very quickly. I wanted to have a good feeling in my body during World Championships; I was worried about jetlag and being tired. My absence in Asia allowed me to compete on the highest level in Lahti and win medals. I saw that some of the guys lost their power after Japan and Korea. The World Championships was my goal of the season, my brain and

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body needed to be ready in 100% for that event. I think you don’t have to take part in the pre-Olympic trial. If you are in a good shape you can jump on every single hill and be on the podium. What was the biggest disappointment in your sport career? Is there one?

Hmmm… Hard question. Innsbruck wasn’t a good competition for me, Vikersund too. But life is life. You’ll never know what will happen on the hill. You can never be sure about the weather conditions, which enable you to make a really good jump. Some days you are late on the inrun and mess your landing up. A lot of things must be the best in this one moment. I’m 25 and I’m trying to let go of the things that I can’t change. Do you have troubles with expressing your emotions in your private life or is it the same as on the hill?

- Ski jumping is my life and the thing I love the most. When I screw up, when I make mistakes… It makes me angry. When you realise you lost your chance to win, it is hard to handle it. In private I’m trying to be more chill but it is not so easy.

How did you feel Severin’s absence in the team?

- Personally, for me it wasn’t easy. Severin always was “the one” who was the best - I watched him, eliminated my mistakes based on his experience. He always sees his mistakes and he can eliminate them very quickly - it’s a really useful skill. I think that for my teammates Severin’s absence was really difficult. Wellinger and Freitag had been taking the leader’s chair in our team. I’m so happy I was able to make little steps forward during his absence. His crash and long physiotherapy was a hard time for us but we were still able to be on top during last season and we competed with the best ski jumpers. In your hometown the most popular sport discipline is biathlon. How did it happen that you began to train ski jumping? Has anyone convinced you to choose it?

- It was not so easy to start it. We have a lot of hills in Ruhpolding but yes, biathlon is in the first place. I hope I will manage to talk with local government to make those hills more modern and encourage

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Markus Eisenbichler kids to train ski jumping. If we had good hills we wouldn’t have to go to Austria or other German towns for trainings. It would save our time and definitely would be more comfortable. I would like to change it but right now it looks bad. Maybe your achievements will help with it?

- I hope so! I would like to train in Ruhpolding a lot and I want those hills for other people. I’m trying to be the best and maybe because of that I’ll make a change in my town. Quick Questions:

1) Favourite ski jumping hill: Oh it is difficult to choose one place. I like Klingenthal, Stams and Planica. Lillehammer is also important place to me - that was my first podium. 2) Ski jumping idol: Kazuyoshi Funaki 3) Best teammate: Everyone (laugh). Honestly, we have really good relations in our team, we like each other and I think it’s the power of our team. 4) If not ski jumping: Tennis, golf or climbing. My girlfriend and I spend our free time in an active way. 5) World Championships or Olympic Games: 99% sportsmen choose the second one. For me honestly the World Cup and Ski Flying World Cup competitions are very important. It shows your shape during the whole season not only during one event. The most important for me is to win a Ski Flying World Cup competition because it was the beginning of my career. 6) Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Mueller: It's not easy to answer. Robert Lewandowski is a great athlete and a very nice man. I met him during the World Cup in Oberstdorf. Thomas Mueller comes from Germany so it's obvious that I really like him. But I like and respect both of them.

Ski jumping is my life and the thing I love the most. When I screw up, when I make mistakes… It makes me angry. When you realise you lost your chance to win, it is hard to handle it. In private I’m trying to be more chill but it is not so easy.

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Photo: Przemyslaw Wardega

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Text: Martyna Ostrowska and Dominika Wisniowska Edited and translated by Barbara Zur

The region of champions After Daniel-Andre Tande's success at the beginning of the year in the Four Hills Tournament, Kongsberg had its renaissance. The characteristic red jumpers with the letter "K" became a best seller. The spirit of the game was back. The town finally got another talent after many years. Famous jumper with the letter "K" for Kongsberg.

Kongsberg is a municipality in the region of Buskerud in the Southwest of Oslo. The famous Ruud brothers – Sigmund, Birger and the youngest Asbjørn were born here. Many years ago, they were the corner stone of ski jumping not only in Norway but around the world. We reached the place right after RAW AIR tournament had finished. After an amazing weekend of ski flying emotions are now settling down. We visited Norsk Bergverksmuseum, where we were shown and told the story of the famous Rudd family by our guide Morten Øvereng.

Hannibalbakken “Ski jumping was their hobby. They were not professionals; it was not their job as it would be nowadays. Beside ski jumping, they all had full time jobs but that did not affect their determination and commitment to the sport,” said Morten. Despite

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difficulties they continued to do what they loved. “One day Sigmund found a perfect place for a ski jumping hill. The brothers built it themselves. The whole project cost them 16 kroner (NOK) [around €1.65 ed. note]. Birger's mother used to send him to the forest to gather berries for the family but he spent his own money to buy berries and was able to help his brothers with building the hill which they later named Hannibalbakken,” Morten continued. The name was derived from a nearby mine called Hannibal. The last jump was taken on this hill in 1996. At that time Daniel-Andre Tande was celebrating his...second birthday. The unused hill was vandalized not long after the last jump. But a few years later the grounds around the hill were managed and the judges tower was meant to be demolished. However, such an operation turned out to be very costly. It is now used as a viewing spot for tourists.

Everything stays in the family Sigmund, Birger and Asbjørn’s father was dedicated to keeping his sons in shape. He built a wooden hut and a mini sports centre around it. The Ruuds had a pitch, a tennis court, and a swimming pool with a jumping tower; now you can find a kindergarten and a school there. Their friends trained there too. Thanks to the summer training, in the winter they were achieving better results than their rivals. “In 1935, during a competition, Sigmund Ruud tied with a different Norwegian jumper– Arne B. Christiansen. The officials were in a difficult situation because they had only one prize – a round plate. They did not have enough money to buy another one. The jumpers agreed to divide the plate in half and have their surnames itched on the each half of the paten,” said Morten and showed us the prize confirming

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photos: Dominika Wisniowska

The region of champions

the story. “Christiansen was not born in Kongsberg, however, a few years later he married the Ruud brothers’ sister so everything stayed in the family,” he added smiling. The Ruud brothers had other achievements as well; they were good at alpine skiing. Birger was the most accomplished alpine skier in the family. He even won a bronze medal in the World Championships.

Painful discovery The Rudd brothers are the only three brothers in history who all won World Championships title in ski jumping. Birger, who is the most famous and most decorated of his brothers, propagated the Kongsberger technique, which was used by ski jumpers from Konsgberg. The jumpers who used this technique were bent forward at the hip during the jump. That style of ski jumping was developed purely by chance. “Unlike today, in those days on ski jumping hills there was not any place for the contestants to wait for their turn. There were not any toilets either so when the ski jumpers were nervous or they needed to use a restroom they had to go to the forest. Once, during a competition Birger went to the forest to relieve himself but he was announced as a next contestant and had to quickly prepare himself for his jump. That was unlucky. Jumping suits used to have buttons in the front but they were replaced with elastic suits with a zip. When Birger tried to fasten his suit his hair got entangled into the zip. This weird position was a result of unfortunate circumstances. However, the unlucky situation was rewarded by a really long jump,” explained our guide. This uncomfortable position initiated a brand new style which allowed to obtain better results.

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The joint prize for Sigmund Ruud and Arne B. Christiansen.

Norsk Bergverksmuseum

Once, during a competition Birger went to the forest to relieve himself but he was announced as a next contestant and had to quickly prepare himself for his jump. That was unlucky. Jumping suits used to have buttons in the front but they were replaced with elastic suits with a zip. When Birger tried to fasten his suit his hair got entangled into the zip. This weird position was a result of unfortunate circumstances. However, the unlucky situation was rewarded by a really long jump.

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Clairvoyant guitar Birger Ruud became famous around the world. He was admired for his outstanding results in ski jumping not only by his Norwegian fans but also those from Germany, Austria and France. One time in Achberg, in Germany, he learnt that he was going to... win the next day's competition. “Birger Ruud arrived a few days before the competition. When he was strolling through the town he saw a guitar in one of the shops with

a writing itched on it which said "The first place, Birger Ruud, Norway”. He went in to the shop and said that it was unfair as the competition had not even happened yet. He had not jumped yet so no one can be sure he was going to win,” said Morten. But no one listened to him. Everyone was certain he would win. And he did. He brought the very guitar to Kongsberg. “This shows how great a legend of ski jumping Birger Ruud was,” Morten continued.

Retiree wins a medal The last big success in his career was a silver medal of the Olympic Games in Sankt Moritz in 1948. Actually, not many people know that when he won the silver medal he was already a retired athlete. “During the Olympics in Sankt Moritz Birger Ruud was not a member of the national team but he was there as a Norway’s ski jumpers’ assistant. He had to test the Olympic hill. Birger's jump was so good that the managers of the Norwegian team decided that he will replace one of the younger ski jumpers,” said Morten. By winning the silver medal in Sankt Mortiz, Birger Ruud made history as the oldest Olympic medallist. That honour belonged to Birger up until 2014 when Noriaki Kasai, who was at that time 41 years old, won the silver medal in Sochi in Russia.

Renaissance

The Hannibalbakken hill built by the Ruud brothers.

Despite the years that have gone by, the legend of the three brothers is still very much alive and is being preserved by fans such as Morten, our guide. Not only did Sigmund, Birger and Asbjørn made their mark in their town's history but also in the history of ski jumping in general. A lot of time has to pass before people from Kongsberg finally get new champions like the Rudd brothers. But they believe it will happen, sooner or later. Who knows? Maybe before long Daniel-Andre Tande will join the Kongsberg hall of fame? 

The famous Kongsberger technique

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The region of champions

Birger Ruud the most famous and most decorated of the three brothers. He won the Olympics gold medal twice (in 1923 and 1936) and one silver medal in 1948. In his career he won 8 World Championships medals – 5 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze. He was successful in alpine skiing as well. He won a bronze medal in 1935. Birger beat the ski jumping world record twice. His jump opened the competition on the Olympic ski jumping hill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1970. When he retired, Birger travelled around the world working in sport shops. He died in 1998 in his home town – Kongsberg.

"The first place, Birger Ruud, Norway."

The Skiløperen monument depicting Birger Ruud in the jumping pose by Arne Durban.

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Interview and photos: Przemyslaw Wardega Edited by Joanna Byczek

Arne Åbråten

Raw Air – part of the nature The most extreme. The most intense... this is Raw Air. Where does the idea of this tournament come from, the biggest challenges and goals, including building brand like the 4-Hills Tournament. This and so much more from Raw Air Director’s Arne Abraten.

if it would be possible to put a tournament for 10 days. Luckily they liked the idea. Walter Hofer was all the time part of this planning with the calendar, Clas Brede Bråthen – sport manager of the Norwegian team and me, we were sitting and planning for the calendar. We sent a proposal to the FIS calendar committee and they approved it in the calendar meeting in April 2016. Then the official calendar was approved by the FIS council in June 2016. So from then we had the calendar and since then we had started working at the final sport format, logistics, organization and everything we could put in this tournament.

How did you come up with Raw Air Tournament idea?

– We know it. Because when we asked jumpers how many jumps or jumping days they usually made before, none of them made ten days in a row. Even not in the camp or daily trainings. They used to train five or six days and then have a break. So it is something new also for them. First of all, we checked it with the medical department in the FIS to see if it would be okay from the medical point of view. The medical committee in the FIS approved this idea on the sport format. I know that some of jumpers were tired during Raw Air Tournament so they had to be more focused. On the other hand, we had to make some extremely effort to get attention. We should not be a copy

– The idea came up as a result of the discussion regarding the FIS World Cup calendar. We had the discussion with the FIS in the end of 2015 how we could set up the Norwegian competitions in one week or at the same time of the year. In the past we had one competition in December, one in February and two in March. We know that for all the athletes it wasn’t an optimal situation to come to Norway a few times during winter. We asked how we could put this together in one period. We knew that if we could do this, it would be hectic but possible. Then we went back to the FIS and asked

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10 days, at least 16 jumps per each jumper, it seems to be a very big challenge?

of the Four Hills Tournament because it is great. They have their position and format with the knock out system. They have famous destinations and a long traditions so we should not do anything to compete with the Four Hills Tournament. We should try to contribute and then choose to do it in a different way and with a different format. Including the qualifications and team events into an overall tournament ranking. What are your main aims connected with the Raw Air Tournament organization?

– We have to sit down and get the feedback from everybody – athletes, coaches, media and so on. I think we would like to continue in the same way and with the same format if we are allowed to do this. Maybe there will be just small improvements, small adjustments at the local places. But in overall, we would like to set this as a ten-day tournament format, qualifications, individuals and the team competitions. What is the reason that you choose a plate to be a prize? Has it any special meaning?

– The trophy – a glass plate is in the same style as the Raw Air tries to show. We try to show the raw part with the nature, the flight through the air which is done by the athletes. They have to challenge the part of nature, wind etc. It was important for us to have a trophy

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Polish fans are great. I can see them everywhere. They are giving their athletes a lot of extra power. They are a fifth player to the team.

bus company, with the hotels and also to finance this – that has been the biggest issue. What is more, we have never done this before – putting everything together. Have you already seen anything what you want to improve or change?

which is handmade in Norway, real Norwegian quality and have something to do with nature. It is made of glass. It comes from the nature and it has also the image of part of the Norwegian nature – mountains. So that is the story behind it. We couldn’t make any copy of the eagle which is used for the Four Hills Tournament or bubble which is a prize for overall World Cup so we had to find another one. I like it so much and the designers made this to fit in to the overall design of the Raw Air. You are a Raw Air leader, what does it exactly mean? What is your role?

– The most important thing I have been doing since we have started is to connect the four organizers together. Because in the past they were working quite separately with their own events. They were a kind of competitors on the calendar. Now they are working much closer together. We have set up meetings, chat groups so that can work together with most of the volunteers to enhance the level of their knowledge to make events like this and also to get them closer together to be a bigger family, more proud, to take the traditions to the next step for the ski jumping. So that, for sure, has been my main issue with this to bring them closer together. They should belong together and they should work together because it is so tight between the different destinations. They have to cooperate well. So it is the number one. The second is to do the promoting of the Raw Air to explain what it is and make a presentation for politics, officials and sponsors.

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And what is Raw Air for you – personally?

– Personally it is my biggest goal. I would like to secure that the Norwegian organizers will stay in the calendar. I am going to do my best to give them the best platform and conditions to survive in the future and to stay in the calendar of the FIS World Cup. We have a lot of great organizers and there are too many organizers. That is the issue. We have to do things in a right way, we have to be strong and develop ourselves. If we will be doing these together, everything will work fine and we will achieve it. That’s my goal to give them the place they have deserved in the calendar for the next twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years like the Four Hills Tournament. What was most challenging for you during the preparations for the tournament?

– I would say the concept behind the logistics and finding the best way to do the logistics. With the buses, hotels in all the four destinations. To have athletes in the same hotels, on the road between the venues and to try to make this transport as comfortable as possible for the coaches and athletes as we know that the tournament is very extreme and intense on one hand. On the other hand, we have to compensate for the difficulties connected with travelling. So we check in at hotels before and then we can give the keys to the rooms to jumpers in the buses already. It is helpful, because they can go directly to the rooms without staying at the reception. All these things including putting together the deals with the

– We can improve the flow of information for everyone – teams, athletes and media. We can get new technologies to deliver communication in a better way because we have so many people and we have such short time limits if there are changes or updates – to enhance the information. This is at least one thing I have seen already. I think that maybe with the communications it is not possible to do it good enough but we can improve that. Polish fans – what do you think about them?

– I have great respect for Polish fans. They are perfect in supporting and giving the honour to the great sportsmen. I am really happy when I see this. They have their special ways to make noise and can be really loud. But this is also the part of ski jumping. For a sportsman it is a competition, for a TV viewer it is a show and a product. Without this noise and nice pictures from the spectators stand you will not get the interest from the TV. Polish fans are great. I can see them everywhere. They are giving their athletes a lot of extra power. They are a fifth player to the team. Weather conditions can be very variable – how difficult it is for organizers?

– We knew that already before we started. When you have ten days in a row there is no place for big adjustments. Maybe it is not possible to find ten days when you can jump, everyday in good conditions. So we knew that there would be some challenges and also some changes. I was very happy when we had

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Arne Åbråten

finished in Holmenkollen three competition days, five jumps and everything with the perfect conditions. In Lillehammer there were a lot of people at the hill – more than I have seen for the last ten years. It was great. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to jump. We have to be focused what is going to happen next. If there are any troubles or cancellation at one destination you have to be very open-minded to take over the competition. It also shows how good communication between the four organizers is. We have to be flexible. The same concerns all the other organizers. Do you think that ski jumpers will be able to present good performance after so many jumps and exhausting days?

– I don’t think they will have any problems. Athletes are very good prepared.

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They don’t have any problems with physical skills. In a situation like this they have to prepare their mental part. Some of them are at the top, leading and have good starting positions. The others are not in the great situation but they always can be back at the top. What about the season 2017/18, the Four Hills Tournament, the ski flying World Championships, Olympic Games and also Raw Air – isn’t it too much?

– From my point of view… I don’t think so (laughing). Luckily I am not a ski jumper. I can just think a little bit from the other side. We are in the calendar also for the next year. From my point of view if we will do everything in the right way, taking care of the athletes, coaches and also giving them the support they need – everything will work fine. When we had

a discussion with FIS for the first time they told us that three years would be the period to find a good format and test out if we could have this tournament for the future. I can see that ski jumpers are developing year by year. They are stronger physically and mentally. They have more people around, better equipment. This discipline is developing at the same level like other disciplines. For example, cross country also have the Tour de Ski so I think the world’s best ski jumpers easily can handle this. 

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Text: Dominika Wisniowska

RAW AIR – 90% balls and 10% technique

The first edition of RAW AIR delivered exactly what the officials had promised. It was extreme and intensive. At times it was a little bit chaotic and rather austere in its form. Very much like this text. All of those who are expecting to find me complaining and discussing the lousy organisation of the competition or fiddling with the starting gate – be warned – you won't find it here. Call me crazy but I liked RAW AIR and I believe that I’m not the only one. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger The new Norwegian invention – RAW AIR TOURNAMENT – had a lot of supporters from the beginning but there were even more of those who opposed the idea. For some reason, the extremely intensive, 10-day-long tournament

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Photos: Dominika Wisniowska/Maria Grzywa

ending in ski flying on the biggest ski jumping hill in the world didn’t appeal to them. I approached the topic with a typical for me apprehension and unmerited optimism. I joined the group of the enthusiast of the Norwegian idea and decided to see it for myself whether the show would be worth the hassle. The first stop was the Norwegian capital. If Zakopane is a Mecca for ski jumping than Oslo must be their Medina [the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca, ed. note] (or the other way round). In Holmenkollbaken the weather was beautiful and the atmosphere was amazing. Perfect conditions for jumping! While in Oslo we already learnt who were the favourites to win the tournament. Andreas Wellinger and Stefan Kraft fiercely competed in RAW AIR from the very first jump to the last. Unfortunately, Polish fans, who came to watch the competition, didn’t have many reasons to be particularly happy. Polish "Golden Jumpers” trained by Stefan Horngacher, weren't in such a good

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RAW AIR

shape as in Finland. The fans watched Kamil Stoch's final jump in horror. After his catastrophic mistake Stoch lost his lead in the Ski Jumping World Cup. The position was taken by Stefan Kraft. The exciting competition in Trondheim was a reward for the two windy days in Lillehammer. The muck-up in Oslo must have shaken Stoch up because he was back with great jumps in Trondheim. On Granåsen Stoch was triumphant in the prologue and later was among the leading jumpers. Stefan Kraft won for the second time in the tournament. Everything indicated that the battle for the Crystal Globe will be fierce till the end. The main attraction of RAW AIR was the final competition in Vikersund. What a show! Two world records, setting new personal best results and breaking multiple country’s ski jumping records and finally very exciting and dramatic final competition! While everyone was so concentrated on the duel between Stefan Kraft and Andreas Wellinger, Kamil Stoch caught everyone by surprise and

won the last trophy of the tournament. Some people thought that RAW AIR is too demanding a tournament for ski jumpers. They said that the contenders would be exhausted and could easily get injuries. Were they right? I don't think so. All of the ski jumpers agreed that the Norwegian tournée was an amazing adventure and a test of strength but also a great challenge. Such a marathon isn’t a competition for softies. As Eddie "The Eagle” Edwards said himself "Ski jumping is 90% balls and 10% technique”.

The Norwegian hospitality The Norwegians are a very kind nation. When it came to hosting their "own" tournament they proved to be very hospitable. They were the background for the Austrian-German rivalry but it didn't stay like that for a long time though! Following their Viking heritage the Norwegians were ready for the battle, even more so, after their unexpected success in the team competition in Lahti. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm was already brutally

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squashed in the prologue to the inaugural competition in Oslo. Morten Solem was responsible for a string of disqualifications. He sent world class jumpers home before they even landed. One of Solem's victim was Anders Fannemel. And that must have been a bitter pill to swallow, especially since he was a world record holder at that time. Trondheim proved to be a turning point not just for Kamil Stoch. The Norwegian team was going through a difficult time too. They weren’t achieving good results but Andreas Stjernen, a ski jumper from Levanger situated not far from Trondheim, finally managed to be back on form and won the second place twice. He lost only to Kraft and Stoch, who was bouncing back from a bad patch as well. The Norwegians finally got their hero. And it wasn’t Daniel-Andre Tande, as it had been predicted before the tournament. Ski jumpers from Norway had to wait for the headwind (literally) until Vikersund. Ski flying was always the Norwegian domain and even though they weren’t at the forefront this season, their jumps on Vikersundbakken were superb. Very good performance in the team competition sweetened the poor results in RAW AIR. The celebration couldn’t be impeded even by

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Stefan Kraft, who broke the world record. From Norway’s point of view the whole tournament belonged to the "outsiders”. Hardly anybody would have bet on Stjernen in the beginning of the season. In the meantime, one of the oldest ski jumper in the team was the only Norwegian to stand on the podium in RAW AIR. While eating waffles with Brunost and drinking coffee, we were discussing who could break the world record. Fannemel

and Forfang were among those who were mentioned the most. Luckily for us, an inconspicuous man with a moustache made it clear to us how little we still knew about ski jumping. Even though the Norwegians' jumps (with some exceptions ) weren’t impressive during competitions held in their own country, they probably will get a chance to redeem themselves. While on the subject of redeeming oneself, in the windy

As of now, RAW AIR Tournament is a rough diamond among the Ski Jumping World Cup competitions. It is an imperfect and a little bit disorganised tournament with controversial rules. And it is far from being ready to be called the Norwegian version of the Four Hill Tournament. The time will show if the Norwegians will successfully organize the second edition of RAW AIR but, for sure, they deserve a second chance!

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RAW AIR Lillehammer Kenneth Gangnes reappeared and, according to the bush telegraph, he’s very likely to be back on form as he is recovering from his injury.

The unlikely champions The most talked about people during RAW AIR were, of course, Stefan Kraft and Andreas Wellinger. There were tears, anger and frustration. Not to mention the problems with the starting gate but all the drama aside one has to agree that the rivalry between the two ski jumpers, which ended in breaking the world record, was both dramatic and exciting. In the end, as we all well know, Kraft won the trophy. RAW AIR was an amazing battle not only for the impressive black plate. There were also many small successes achieved by those who were not in the centre of attention. One of those surprising heroes was Kevin Bickner, 20 years old ski jumper from the USA. Not only did he set a new USA ski jumping record but also won the hearts of the fans. American fans and coaches hadn’t been that happy for a long time. Hopefully, we will see their excitement more often. Despite the fall in the second round during the competition in Vikersund, Bickner had the time of his life. But I believe that in Kevin's case the best is yet to come. On the opposite end, when considering the age and achievements, is Noriaki Kasai. How many times did the Japanese Samurai left us in awe after his jumps? The competition in Vikersund was no different! The beloved Nori, who is now 44 years old, broke his personal record and came second in the final competition. 241.5 m is an impressive result. During a press conference he said that he would not slow down simply because...he loved flying. I'll take you at your word! Everything that we love in ski jumping happened on the famous Vikersundbakken. There were long jumps, sudden turns of events and surprising heroes such as

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Robert Johansson, who was a world record holder for 33 minutes. In the team competition, the Norwegian jumper with a characteristic moustache jumped as a second contestant from his team. Had it not been for Anders Fannemel's muck-up with the suit, Johansson might have not even been in the national team. He jumped in very good conditions and reached 252.0 metres. The athlete who did not get a chance to take part in the team competition in FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti set a new world record. Johansson, who was born in Lillehammer, showed in Vikersund that he does not want to be in the background any more. With one jump he contradicted all the unfair comments about his position in the national team and the second place in Innsbruck. And even though the world record was taken from him by Stefan Kraft, Johansson deserved those 33 minutes of glory.

Show must go on! The Norwegian tournament was not a place for killjoys. Some of my fellow journalist were complaining literally about everything, including the trophy. Complaining is not deemed as a polite behaviour

in Norway so I’ll leave the discussion about aesthetic and moral values to experts. All I'll say is that the leading ski jumpers in RAW AIR reiterated in their interviews that they really liked the whole idea and that they were thrilled to be a part of it. And if the contestants themselves want to jump and thrill the audience, who are we to deny them such pleasure? As of now, RAW AIR TOURNAMENT is a rough diamond among the Ski Jumping World Cup competitions. It is an imperfect and a little bit disorganised tournament with controversial rules. And it’s far from being ready to be called the Norwegian version of the Four Hill Tournament. The time will show if the Norwegians will successfully organize its second edition but, for sure, they deserve a second chance! I have to admit, I’ve experienced so opposite emotions during RAW AIR and I haven’t felt like that during competitions for a long time. Ski jumping is a beautiful and unpredictable sport as we were able to see during those 10 days. And even just for that reason I’m all for it. The show called RAW AIR TOURNAMENT must go on! 

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Interview: Martyna Ostrowska Edited by Joanna Byczek

Hard work pay

First World Cup win and third place in the World Cup overall are the biggest achivements in Maren Lundby's career. The ski jumper who comes from Gjøvik doesn't rest on one's laurels. She has one of the most challenging events ahead - the Winter Olympic Games in Pyongchang. That was one of the best winter seasons for you. How do you feel about it?

– It feels great. It has been my goal for so many years – to be on the podium in the overall. It's big stuff for me, performing so well this season and I'm really happy about it. Did you change a lot in your training sessions before the season?

– No, I didn't change a lot before the winter. The reason for my better shape during this season was that I finally managed to do some good jumps during

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the summer. It was much more stable than in the previous years. My self-confidence was even better when I started the winter season. I started to believe that I can take a lead in a competition etc. I've been working on that for many years and now it finally pays off.

travel together with them. All in all, I think they are coming. There are more jumpers who can join me soon so I hope our team will be bigger next season. I am pretty sure that in two or three years we can have a really strong ladies’ team.

Is it an advantage for you that you are the only girl in a national team?

You said that you train also with boys. Can it be helpful for you? Did they give you some tips?

– No, it's not an advantage. I mostly train alone. Because of that I had to join boys during the summer. I'd like to have more girls at my level, of course. It would be perfect to train and

– Training with guys is really helpful for me. As we train together, we always have a chance to pick up some solutions from each other and it works fine for us.

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Photos: Przemyslaw Wardega

Maren Lundby

ys off I can see how they manage to do many things while training, and I think this is the most enlightening part. They can teach me a lot.

You were 15, when you started in your first World Championships in Liberec 2009. How was the experience for such a young athlete? Were you more excited or nervous?

The World Championships in Lahti was kind of a bittersweet tournament for you...

– At that time I was surely more nervous. I think I was excited as well but maybe because I didn't know why I am going there. I had really no experience but that was the time when I got to learn a lot about ski jumping and big tournaments.

– Yes, of course Lahti was kind of bittersweet for me but I was really happy with my first jump that day. It showed that I was back to my top jumps. It was really important for me that I can jump well when it really counts. The result wasn't the best but I'm trying to take a lot of positive experience from the situations like this. Next year you will have another chance to win a medal. What do you aim to achieve during the Winter Olympics?

– My main aim for the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang is for sure a medal but first I need to do a lot of work. I should be focused to do my best during the summer, getting better and better each day and try to improve this year. Hopefully, it will be enough to get a medal at the Olympics. It's a very important goal for me. Do you think there is any girl who can beat Sara Takanashi next winter?

– Yes, I think it's possible. For example Yuki Ito made some really good jumps this year. This winter more athletes won the competitions and performed well so it wasn't only Sara Takanashi. We are getting closer to her and I think it is possible for us to catch up with her next season.

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Is there any chance to see you jumping in Vikersund?

– We haven't decided yet if it will be next year or maybe later. Anyway jumping on the biggest hill in the world in my home country would be a big thing for me. 

Clas Brede Brathen said that you are the best Norwegian ski jumper, not only among girls but among both boys and girls.

– I think it's my fault that he said that. I was training with the guys during the summer and this season I was performing on a really good and stable level. The winter wasn't so successful for the guys so maybe that is why my shape looked even better. Would you like to try something like Raw Air?

– Yes, of course. Raw Air is a big thing and must be a real challenge. It would be kind of stressful to go for a tournament like that but I'm really up to try myself in a tournament like Raw Air. It would be big stuff for us to have something like the boys have. They were waiting for the Tournament during the World Cup season because they were curious how it will work for them. In my opinion, girls also want to have something in the World Cup that they will really look forward to.

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Photos: Dominika Wisniowska Przemyslaw Wardega

Planica 2017 photostory

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Photos: Przemyslaw Wardega

Ski jumpers and

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#getwellsoon Hill Size Magazine

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ODJAZD

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