FOX RIVER GROVE – Michael Glasder pumped his fist after landing a 74-meter jump on the K-70 Hill at Norge Ski Club.
The 23-year-old Cary native had a lower speed on the ramp than a previous jump, but he came close to matching an earlier distance and stuck a better landing.
His jumps were part of the 27th annual Norge Summer Ski Jump. Some of the ski jumpers, including Glasder, used the event to earn points toward a chance at trying out for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Spectators rang bells as jumpers, who were between 9 and 38 years old, came down the hill.
By the end of the day, jumpers were flying close to 75 meters before landing on the plastic mats that lined the hill.
About 500 people came to the event Saturday, and about 2,000 watched the ski jumping Sunday.
Skiers jumped in temperatures that reached the mid-60s. As soon as they landed at the end of the hill, they unzipped their foam suits designed to hold them in the air.
The suits become really hot in the summer, but not in the winter, Glasder said.
“You can’t really have anything underneath your suit [because] it will restrict your movements,” he said. “It doesn’t quite feel right.”
This weekend’s event had participants from clubs in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota, among others.
“They come from all over the place,” Charlie Sedivec, Norge Ski Club spokesman, said.
There were about 50 participants Saturday and roughly 35 Sunday.
Along with the distance, ski jumpers are judged on their form during flight and landing.
Ski jumpers want their bodies to be parallel with skis, and they have a telemark landing where one foot is ahead of the other while the arms are kept straight.
Glasder has been jumping since he was 4 years old. In high school, he decided to drop soccer and baseball to concentrate on ski jumping.
“The sport is so amazing, and you could travel all over the world,” Glasder said.
He hopes people who watched over the weekend learned about the sport, which is given more attention in Europe.
“It’s not really a popular sport as compared to baseball and football,” Glasder said.
Glasder said he trains or competes about 11 months out of the year.
“You have to do it now to stay competitive internationally,” Glasder said.
Tim Jepsen of Wonder Lake came with his wife, Kristin, and their 7-year-old daughter, Lilayna, even though they knew nothing about ski jumping except for what they see during the Winter Olympics. They were impressed by the skiers flying through the air.
“I like seeing the young kids,” Tim Jepsen said. “It’s pretty amazing how good they are.”
Seeing youngsters go more than 60 meters was impressive, he said.
“It’s pretty brave,” Jepsen said. “I couldn’t see myself doing that when I was that young.”