Local ski jumpers set sights on Olympic games

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- You've seen it done on the Olympic stage. The high flying sport of ski jumping sends men and women from all over the world soaring through the air and landing safely at the bottom of the hill.

While the athletes at the Sochi Winter Games make ski jumping look easy, the truth is it takes a lot of hard work and practice to get to the Olympic games.

In Eau Claire, ski jumpers as young as four or five start learning the basics with the Flying Eagles Ski Club at Mt. Washington Ski Complex.

“In order to get to that Olympic level skiers start small here at Mt. Washington hill. First they start at the 7 meter hill, then the 15 meter then the 30 and the biggest is the 40 meter hill,” Flying Eagles coach Tim Anderson explained.

“It feels good and I like it,” Flying Eagles Ski Club member Jonathan Solberg said.

For Solberg, ski jumping is a family affair. His two younger brothers followed in his footsteps to learn how to fly on the hills of Mt. Washington.

“When we first saw it we thought it looked pretty dangerous, but actually it’s one of the safer sports it turns out,” Jonathan’s Dad Chris Solberg said.

Chris Solberg says getting his son’s into the sport of ski jumping was a little nerve wracking at first, but coaches with the Flying Eagles Club say safety is always a top priority.

“Alot of kids just love to fly and ski jumping is a very controlled way to fly on skis. The hills are carefully designed, carefully groomed and we try to make the sport safe,” Coach Tim Anderson said.

Cocah Anderson knows what it takes to succeed in the sport. His daughter Emily placed fifth at the Olympic trials this year.

Anderson said it took years of practice on hills like Mt. Washington and Eau Claire’s own Silvermine Hill for his daughter to get to a high level in her sport. He also adds that Emily and other jumpers have their sights on the 2018 Olympics.

“From the Flying Eagles potentially we could have multiple skiers in the 2018 Olympics,” Anderson said.

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