“The Sleeping Giant” Awakens: 9/22/20 update
Due to complications brought on by Covid-19 we have scaled back our aspirations for this year and are now soliciting bids for only the site work. Work to be completed this fall includes grading, shaping and finishing of the landing hill, installing side protection railing along the landing areas; and the construction of a retaining wall on the knoll. The remainder of the project, which will include installing new inrun decking on the jump, installing deflection boards along the inrun track, and the construction of a new judges tower, will be put out to bid in the spring of 2021. Click the Title above for details.
The Nansen Ski Jump, also called the “Big Nansen,” is being restored to its former glory!
Built in 1937, it was then the largest steel towered ski jump in the world. Through the decades it hosted the first ever U.S. Olympic trials, four National Championships, numerous North American Championships, International Invitationals, and was featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Absolutely the greatest ski jumpers of the day traveled from afar to the tip of NH to jump the Big Nansen. Its originator, the Nansen Ski Club (NSC), the “Oldest Ski Club in America”, has produced elite athletes, coaches, and officials and boasts of four of their members being in the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame. Berlin was truly one of the premier Nordic Centers of the East rivaled only by the Olympic complex of Lake Placid, NY.
Unfortunately, a combination of factors contributed to the Nansen Ski Jump holding its final competition in 1985, and being officially abandoned in 1988. It vanished from view. The site was overcome with vegetation, with only a hint of something “lurking” behind. Only the adventurous and the curious, with a recollection of its storied past, attempted the bushwhacking ordeal to reach the structure. Once there, however, they were greeted with a 181 foot tall steel tower with the remnants of its decaying decking and a similarly deteriorated judging stand. The Big Nansen was dangerously close to being merely a footnote and the fodder of old timers’ tales.
Now the good news!
The “Friends of the Nansen Ski Jump” were formed in 2014, became part of the Nansen Ski Club in 2017, and, in partnership with the State of NH (which owns the jump and the land it’s on), have embarked on an aggressive campaign to save the iconic landmark. What started as purely a mission of historic preservation has evolved into returning the jump to “active status,” renovating it to be able to hold elite competition there once again! With the huge promotional boost from former World Cup champion Sarah Hendrickson’s “last leap” off the jump on March 4, 2017 (pictured above), the “Friends,” in conjunction with the State of NH, started this process of reclamation.
An enormous leap forward was achieved when the Nansen Ski Club was awarded a $250,000 Northern Borders Regional Commission (NBRC) grant. That, coupled with matching funds, has supplied us with $312,500 towards the renovations required to bring the jump up to modern standards, to be fully sanctioned.
More funding is still needed.
The NBRC grant funds will go a long way towards paying for the needed improvements but there are some that are not funded or not funded adequately. The pandemic has forced us to cancel fundraising events. We continue to use our imagination to rally the support that we know is out there. Help us if you can!
We hired the best ski jump designers in the country and they did not disappoint! The design is the careful combining of attributes from the best ski jumps in the world while following the rigid standards of FIS, the international sanctioning body. Our jump will be the envy of the East!
Our Planned Event Postponed to next year
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we are forced to postpone our inaugural jumping event to next February, 2022. All the jump improvements, if funding allows, will be completed by next summer and, hopefully, this health crisis will be resolved to the point that we can welcome all of you to witness the spectacle.
Revival of the North Country
The North Country of NH is reinventing itself and navigating away from its once proud manufacturing heritage. The splendor of its natural surroundings, and the healthy outdoor activities associated with it, are now being actively promoted, as part of its new tourism-based economy. The return of the Big Nansen fits very nicely into this story line.
The Sleeping Giant is awakening. Let’s welcome him with open arms.
All funds donated when you click this Donate button will be used for the Big Nansen Restoration.