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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Since summer ski jumping simulates the winter sport so closely, the Park City Ski and Snowboard Team (PCSS) sent a group of athletes who stood atop the podium in Steamboat Springs.
Park City’s Liam Demong won the boys U12 Nordic combined competition. His Olympic Champion father, Billy, who received a round of applause from an adoring crowd, was on hand. He’s a PCSS cross-country coach.
Also making the trip was USA Nordic athlete Rachel Hearter, along with Seth Rothchild, Jette Maxwell, and first-time participant Savanah Cuttitta.
16-yr.-old Josie Johnson, National Team member on USA Nordic/US Ski Team ski jumper, came in second, landing at the 72-meter mark in the Elimination Jump after Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s (SSWSC) jumper Thomas Miller who landed at 74. National team member Nicklas Malacinsky, on his home hill, bested them in the air with a 74-meter performance. However, he couldn’t hold it when he found the ground falling and sliding sideways down the green plastic jump, a mistake which eliminated him via the Elimination jump’s result rules.
Ian Carmack finished second in the u16 boys Nordic combined behind SSWSC athlete Arthur Tyrone and Augie Roepke took third.
Skyler Amy came down from Alaska to take the top spot on the podium in the boys U20 Nordic combined. PCSS’s Root Roepke followed him.
A unique event, the 18th annual Jumpin’ and Jammin’ Extravaganza brought in a strong audience participation element. Early in the morning of July 4, nordic combined athletes get the opportunity to hold their roller-ski race right on the main street through the small mountain town in front of the gathering spectators to enjoy the Independence Day Parade. The announcer on the P.A. describes the fast-action competition as “A lot like Nascar.”
After the people in town are done watching the big parade, they make the five-minute walk over the Yampa River bridge, the same river the PCSS athletes swam in every day for fun, to the Nordic ski jump venue. Fans who couldn’t be there watched it all on livestream as athletes competed from Michigan, Illinois, and New York.
Donovan Toly, a U10 from PCSS, was called by announcers, “The hardest working man on the hill” because he not only contested his jumps but acted as the event forerunner (called a forejumper in this sport) as well.
The roughly 1000-strong crowd settled into their lunching lawn chairs, dipped into their coolers, and dug their hands in their pockets to support the young skiers. Per town tradition, the U12 athletes who weren’t on the hill walked among the picnic blankets with a ski jumping boot collecting kind cash donations, which the winners of the exciting Elimination Jump get. Upwards of $2,500 ended up in those boots. For their contributions, spectators were rewarded with 700 free Otter Pops and a rare invitation to run through the sprinklers of the grassy jump outrun between rounds.
As exciting as all the summer skiing action, it bearly (pun intended) compared to the bear spotted in the yard of the PCSS team house. The home-host house was located in the Old Town area, and she and her two cubs were experienced by the coaches and athletes from inside the safety of their house.
Small Hills Coach for PCSS, Michael Ward, told TownLift, “The event was a success on and off the hill for PCSS athletes. Our athletes took advantage of Howelson Hill’s ski jumps. Our athlete’s made some big strides over the week, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these improvements throughout the rest of the summer.”