Watch: A summer of ski jumping in Anchorage

Sunday, 10 September 2017, 07:45:27 AM. Thanks to upgrades, young ski jumpers are able to practice year-round at the Karl Eid Ski Jumps.

After three years of upgrades, the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex in Anchorage is enjoying its first full summer of action on the facility's biggest jump.

Skiers are jumping onto artificial turf landing areas on all four jumps as they prepare for winter competition. The biggest hill, the 65-meter jump, wasn't ready for summertime use until late last summer.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan Folds is the only girl using the big jump.

"I don't even know how to explain it," she said of the feeling of flying through the air farther than half a football field.

"There's nothing really like it. I mean, I've never been skydiving or anything."

Sixty-five meters is the distance from the end of the jump ramp to where the landing area begins to flatten.

watch-a-summer-of-ski-jumping-in-anchorage photo 1 Rowan Folds, 16, practices her form before using the 65-meter ski jump at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

"It's a little scary at the top each and every time you do it," said 15-year-old Alex Murray. "You get butterflies in your stomach."

[Summer soaring: Karl Eid ski jumps now a year-round training ground]

Ski jumping coach Zak Hammill knows the feeling.

"I'm pretty sure that I remember every new jump that I skied," he said, "because it's such a highlight."

The facility also has 10-meter, 20-meter and 40-meter jumps, but the 65-meter jump is the one that everyone aspires to use.

"Everybody wants to go to the 60," Murray said. "Everybody is asking the coaches to go to the 40 and the 60. They all want to be up there having fun."

But some kids need years to work up to the big jump.

watch-a-summer-of-ski-jumping-in-anchorage photo 2 A skier descends the 65-meter ski jump at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

For Folds, it took three years of practice.

"It looked a little scary at first," she said, "but then I found out you start out on the smallest ones. So it wasn't that bad."

watch-a-summer-of-ski-jumping-in-anchorage photo 3 Rowan Folds climbs to the top of the 65-meter ski jump at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

Murray's advice for anyone wanting to go off the big jump is to not think too much.

"You just have to let go of the bar. Because the more you think, the more scared you get, and the less likely you are going to go," he said.

"Just do it," said Folds. "It looks scary, but give it a try. It's not as bad as it looks. It's actually really fun."

watch-a-summer-of-ski-jumping-in-anchorage photo 4 A ski jumper sails through the air after jumping off the 65-meter jump at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Complex. (Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News)

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