All in all, 2021 a very good year for Jumpfest in Salisbury
SALISBURY — The Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) ski jump weekend saw good weather and good crowds, even with a 400-person cap on spectators in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SWSA’s Willie Hallihan recapped on Monday morning, Feb. 15, saying that the SWSA event was the only ski jumping event in the East that was not canceled because of pandemic concerns.
Hallihan said the weather, which has caused cancellation of events in recent years, was not a factor.
“Friday night was in the mid-20s — we’ve had much colder nights. Saturday was about perfect, and Sunday was almost temperate.”
The biggest logistical problem was maintaining the 400-person limit.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, the 400-person limit was achieved at noon, one hour before the competition was scheduled to begin (practice jumping begins at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday).
Roger Crain of SWSA was working the gate a little before noon. He said there were 375 people inside, 25 short of the 400 maximum.
Asked how SWSA kept track, Crain said he had a clicker, and when people exited for good, they were asked to turn in their tickets, so SWSA could then allow more people in.
At 1:20 p.m., there were about 50 people standing in line and waiting to get in, and SWSA members were out on Indian Cave Road advising people in cars that there would be a delay in getting in.
On Sunday, Feb. 14, the SWSA volunteers were out in force, advising not only on where to park and how long the wait might be, but going over COVID-19 symptoms and reminding people about masks and social distance.
At about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the parking area was jammed and about 100 people were waiting to get in.
On both days, the waiting people eventually got in, as spectators left and turned in their tickets.
Inside the ski jump area, near the bonfire on the south side of the jump hill, a dozen or so small children swarmed over piles of cleared snow.
Two food trucks — one offering pulled pork and macaroni and cheese, the other poutine (a Canadian dish defined as french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) — did steady business. Revelers were restricted to a smaller area than usual on the north side of the jump hill, which didn’t discourage the die hards with their folding tables and chairs, and provisions tending toward the liquid.
Hallihan said there were some positive aspects to the pandemic precautions.
“People behaved themselves,” heeding the guidance about masks and distance.
And the ski jumps were livestreamed, thanks to Ian Johnson and the Salisbury School Media Lab.
Hallihan said the livestream attracted viewers from around the country.
“We’ll do that from now on.”
Hallihan said that, all things considered, the 2021 Jumpfest was a success.
There are three separate competitions at Jumpfest. On Friday nights there is target jumping under the lights, an unofficial contest.
On Saturdays, the jumpers compete for the Salisbury Winter Sports Association cup, which goes home with the jumper who has won three times.
And on Sunday is the Olympic qualifier, the Eastern National championships.
Points are awarded based on distance and style. Tate Frantz, number 60 in the Under 20 category and jumping on the 65 meter hill, earned the most points on both days, with 228.4 on Saturday and 234.7 on Sunday.
Cooper Dodds, number 64 and jumping in the Master Class, got the farthest distance on Friday night’s target jumping, at 67.5.
Full results can be found online at The Lakeville Journal website, www.tricornernews.com, including results for the youngest jumpers on the 30 meter hill.
The names of the clubs the athletes jump for are included. Ford Sayre and Lebanon Outing Club are both in New Hampshire; NYSEF trains at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y.; SWSA is in Salisbury.