FLIGHT, NOT HEIGHT Ski jumping is about flight, not height. It’s about how FAR you fly, and has nothing at all to do with height, either the height of the jump, or the height of the jumping hill, or the height above the ground when the skier is in flight. Lots of photos are taken from ground level, shooting upwards with the sky as background, making it look like the jumper is flying high above the ground. This is misleading. The flight path follows the curvature of the landing hill. The object of the sport is to fly as far as possible, as measured from the point of takeoff to the point of landing. HILL CLASSIFICATION: The two hill sizes at the Olympics, and typical of the sizes used for other top-level events, are classified as “normal” (NH) or “large” (LH). The “par” distance, or “K” point on the NH is 95 meters (312 feet). This would be be called a “K95” hill. It’s designed so good jumpers SHOULD fly that far ... or perhaps further. The K-point on the LH is 125 meters, 410 feet. SCORING: A jumper gets 60 points for flying to the K point ("par" is my term), on any hill, any size. They get points ADDED to the 60 point distance score for every meter they fly BEYOND the K point. They’ll LOSE points for each meter they land short of K. That point value per meter is 1.8 on what we described here as "LH" and 2.0 on "SH" venues. So, why do they call it “K”? It’s the first letter of the German word for “calculation.” And why do I call it “par”? Because it’s somewhat similar to a golf term familiar to most Americans. A jumper will get 60 distance points for flying to the K point, and 1.8 points per meter added or subtracted from their score for going beyond (or landing short of) the K point.The conversion factor from raw distance to points provides for standardization of scoring on differing hill sizes. JUDGES: There are three judges, too, who can award up to 60 points per jump (20 per judge) for good technique The term “style points” is a holdover from days gone by, when distances weren’t that great, and there was more emphasis on being “graceful” or “stylish.” Judges & Points cont’d: Points today are more appropriately thought of as TECHNIQUE points or, simply, JUDGE POINTS, the term that shows on scoresheets. HOW IT ALL WORKS OUT: Most really good jumpers get between 16 and 19 points for technique from each of 3 judges (there are 5 judges; high and low scores are discarded). Typically, a good jumper will probably get about 55 points per round from the judges, and about 65 points for flying a bit beyond the K point. That’s 120 points total per jump (distance points plus judge points). That's a good score. In the usual two-jump event, on ANY HILL, a score of 240 is good. The best jumpers will get many more points because they’ll fly far beyond the K point; the best often score near 300 points, and a few have scored up to about 320, because the distance points are unlimited. In reality, distance is most important overall, but when distances are close, judge points become a tiebreaker.
HILL SIZE: FIS (the International Ski Federation) uses the term “hill size” (HS) to refer to the maximum safe flight distance. We do not use that term or that number in this discussion, because it’s not significant in scoring. Stefan Kraft of Austria holds the official record for the world's longest flight on skis, at 253.5 metres (832 ft), set on the ski flying hill in Vikersund, Norway in 2017. That hill is rated K-195 (what WE call “par”), with the FIS “hill size” (HS) rating at 225 meters. So the world record is more than 10% FURTHER than safe “hill size!” The “HS” number is useful to the competition jury. If jumpers start exceeding that distance, they may require using a lower start gate to reduce takeoff speed for the safety of the athletes. But since this is a definition of scoring, we stick with the the K-point, the “par distance,” which is the baseline for scoring.
ABOUT SKI JUMPING
ABOUT SKI JUMPING
Flight, Not Height Ski jumping is about flight, not height. It’s about how FAR you fly, and has nothing at all to do with height, either the height of the jumping hill, or the height above the ground when the skier is in flight. Lots of photos are taken from ground level, shooting upwards with the sky as background, making it look like the jumper is flying high above the ground. This is misleading. The flight path follows the curvature of the landing hill. The object of the sport is to fly as far as possible, as measured from the point of takeoff to the point of landing. HILL CLASSIFICATION: The two hill sizes at the Olympics, and typical of the sizes used for other top-level events, are classified as “normal” (NH) or “large” (LH). The “par” distance, or “K” point on the NH is 95 meters (312 feet). This would be be called a “K95” hill. It’s designed so good jumpers SHOULD fly that far ... or perhaps further. The K-point on the LH is 125 meters, 410 feet. SCORING: A jumper gets 60 points for flying to the K point ("par" is my term), on any hill, any size. They get points ADDED to the 60 point distance score for every meter they fly BEYOND the K point. They’ll LOSE points for each meter they land short of K. That point value per meter is 1.8 on what we described here as "LH" and 2.0 on "SH" venues. So, why do they call it “K”? It’s the first letter of the German word for “calculation.” And why do I call it “par”? Because it’s somewhat similar to a golf term familiar to most Americans. A jumper will get 60 distance points for flying to the K point, and 1.8 points per meter added or subtracted from their score for going beyond (or landing short of) the K point.The conversion factor from raw distance to points provides for standardization of scoring on differing hill sizes. JUDGES: There are three judges, too, who can award up to 60 points per jump (20 per judge) for good technique The term “style points” is a holdover from days gone by, when distances weren’t that great, and there was more emphasis on being “graceful” or “stylish.” Points today are more appropriately thought of as TECHNIQUE points or, simply, JUDGE POINTS, the term that shows on scoresheets. HOW IT ALL WORKS OUT: Most really good jumpers get between 16 and 19 points for technique from each of 3 judges (there are 5 judges; high and low scores are discarded). Typically, a good jumper will probably get about 55 points per round from the judges, and about 65 points for flying a bit beyond the K point. That’s 120 points total per jump (distance points plus judge points). That's a good score. In the usual two-jump event, on ANY HILL, a score of 240 is good. The best jumpers will get many more points because they’ll fly far beyond the K point; the best often score near 300 points, and a few have scored up to about 320, because the distance points are unlimited. In reality, distance is most important overall, but when distances are close, judge points become a tiebreaker. HILL SIZE: FIS (the International Ski Federation) uses the term “hill size” (HS) to refer to the maximum safe flight distance. We do not use that term or that number in this discussion, because it’s not significant in scoring. Stefan Kraft of Austria holds the official record for the world's longest flight on skis, at 253.5 metres (832 ft), set on the ski flying hill in Vikersund, Norway in 2017. That hill is rated K-195 (what WE call “par”), with the FIS “hill size” (HS) rating at 225 meters. So the world record is more than 10% FURTHER than safe “hill size!” The “HS” number is useful to the competition jury. If jumpers start exceeding that distance, they may require using a lower start gate to reduce takeoff speed for the safety of the athletes. But since this is a definition of scoring, we stick with the the K-point, the “par distance,” which is the baseline for scoring.
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