With winter in full swing, visions of Winter Olympic 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 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?
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 inner-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. Come up on the first weekend in March to Mount Snow and you can watch this sport in person.
When: Sunday March 1, 2020
Where: 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.