What The Heck Is Jack Jumping?!?

Jack Jumping World Championship Mount Snow

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With the Winter Olympics in full swing, visions of grandeur run through our minds. While most of us couldn’t pull a 12,000 quadruple cork (yes… it says 12,000) 35 feet above the half-pipe, sports like curling, luge and cross-country skiing move to the forefront. Is there an activity that’s grassroots like these? Something that I could do right now (albeit not well) that would be fun and in the spirit of the Olympics? Well, how about Jack Jumping!

What is Jack Jumping?

Jack Jumping World Championship Mount Snow

We know what you’re thinking… “What the heck is Jack Jumping?” It sounds like some psychopathic P90X training routine. Shockingly, Jack Jumping or as it’s known in Europe, Skibock, is a sport that’s been around since the late 1800’s. The idea is to attach a single ski to a bench seat and thrust yourself down a slalom course. On the surface, it looks somewhat like the monoski used by Paralympians but it’s far less professionally-honed.

A DIY Sport For Skiers

First, there are no fancy parts like poles or extended handles. Second, it needs to be homemade. Typically, Jack jumpers take an old ski and attach it to some kind of wooden seat they made themselves. It’s a chance for your inner-engineer to be born. One of the common modifications frowned upon by “purists” is to put a seat-belt on it. I don’t know about you, but I’d like some kind of seat belt to try and keep me attached.

How It Works

As in Lauren Baccal’s famous saying “You know how to whistle don’t you?”, Jack jumpers have the same sentiment. All you gotta do is lift your legs and go! From what we can tell, it’s all about your core strength and balance. As you watch the experts on the video fly down the mountain, you’ll notice one thing. As they pick up their arms to balance, it almost looks like they’re soaring down the mountain like an eagle.

Jack Jumping World Championships

For those lucky enough to live on the East Coast, you’re in the hotbed of Jack Jumping. The Jack Jumping World Championships have been annually held the 1st week of March at Mount Snow Vermont. Even though as of 2012 Jack Jumping is no longer permitted on chairlifts (outside of this event), you can head over to Mt. Philo and give it a try. In fact, Mt. Philo is renowned for great sledding and jack jumping.

Jack Jumping Mt Philo Inn View
View from the summit of Mt. Philo where you can jack jump to your heart’s content – Image taken by: David Garbose appears courtesy: Mt Philo Inn

Will this become the next Olympic sport? Doubtful, but it’s something you can enjoy on a snowy slope that isn’t corporate. I don’t know about you, but we may need to create a Jack Jumping community in Lake Tahoe. Who’s with me?

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