Editor's Note: This article has been updated. The original press release incorrectly stated that inline skates would be used for the racing portion. Matched rollerskis will be used.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The 2009 U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships will feature an added element of excitement as the nation's finest Nordic athletes compete on plastic jumps and matched roller skis for the first time in championship history this October in Lake Placid, NY the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced. The championships will take place Oct. 11, 2008 during the town's annual Flaming Leaves Festival and will have athletes competing on dry land as opposed to snow.
“I am excited to see our 2009 national champions in ski jumping and Nordic combined crowned just a few months from now. What a great way to kick off a new ski season,” USSA Nordic Combined Director John Farra said.
“This is a very cool opportunity for the USSA ski jumping and Nordic combined athletes to have an event at Lake Placid during their traditional Flaming Leaves event, at the peak of Fall foliage.”
“Hosting these national championship events with the USSA continues an outstanding relationship that the Olympic Regional Development Authority has with one of the premiere Olympic sports organizations,” said ORDA Director of Events Jim Goff. “Bringing such a high-level of talent to Lake Placid, against the backdrop of the changing foliage and myriad festival activities, will make this a memorable event for everyone.”
According to Farra, an already packed Nordic ski season was the driving force behind trying out the competition off snow in conditions identical to those in which athletes train during the summer. But it also offered the added aspect of new, fresh marketing for the sport.
“This will be a test event for this no snow format and we will review it after to see if we would continue this direction or move it back to winter,” Farra said. This will bring an extra element of crowds, and holding the cross country events on roller skis offers up the chance to bring the event closer to the public on existing roadways instead of tucked away in the woods.”
The championships, which are expected to attract more than 100 athletes, will feature a K90 jumping event for men and women. Nordic combined athletes will also jump the K90 as well as compete in a 10K ski race on roller skis.
In addition, the championships will host a Nordic combined exhibition event for women with cash prizes. The goal of the exhibition is to attract more women to Nordic combined.
The championships coincide with the Columbus Day weekend in October.