Down the slopes at the annual Salisbury Jump Fest
“My older brother and I decided to try ski jumping at the same time, after seeing a flyer advertising the junior program. It was intimidating. At the top, a jumper is very focused on stability and that one, quick jumping motion at the take off. Once in the air, it really does feel like flying: you can feel the air supporting you and your skis as you sail over the hill,” says Ariel Picton, who is now a jumping coach for the junior program, of her first experience on the trails when she was nine years old. “The Salisbury event is the most festive ski jumping event in New England; any ski jumper who has participated in this event will tell you the same.”
There is nothing like the rush of energy and adrenalin as a skier stands at the top of a hill and views the vast snow trail ahead. Thanks to the annual Salisbury JumpFest many children and adults get to experience this feeling. This event, now in its 92nd year, is sponsored by the Salisbury Winter Sports Association and helps fund local school ski programs and endeavors to encourage children to enjoy winter sports.
The jump is located just behind the main street in Salisbury. Follow the dirt road, turn a corner, and there are the three jumps. The smallest is 20 meters, midsize is 30 meters, and the largest is 65 meters. “Athletes who jump here do go on to compete in the Olympics and the World Cup, so it is really exciting for that reason,” says Picton.
“One thing that has changed is that women’s ski jumping has taken a real upswing in the last few years, since women’s ski jumping was finally allowed to be an Olympic sport.”
Peter Baiamonte, a photographer who focuses much of his work in the Berkshires, found out about the event through a friend and was intrigued. “I was trying out a fancy new camera,” Baiamonte recalls, “and it sounded like a great place to photograph. Kids of all ages took part and it’s pretty impressive. There is a huge crowd and everyone has a great time.”
Baiamonte’s photographs from last year’s event accompany this article.
This year the event will take place the weekend of February 9. Be sure to bring your cowbells to cheer on the crowd!