Lucky to live near SWSA’s Satre Hill

As COVID restrictions are now beginning to become past, not present, and hopefully not future, it is good for all of us that some events are happening that bring us out of the shells in which we’ve been encased, off and on, for the past two years. If we are looking for reasons to be hopeful, such activity can be held up as inspiration.

Here in the Harlem Valley, we’re fortunate to have the annual Salisbury Ski Jumps to look forward to each year, which take place right over the border in Salisbury, Conn. The ski jump competition just wrapped up this past weekend, coinciding with the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, Calif. It was indeed a busy weekend for sports lovers, but thanks to the iconic ski jumps, a special treat for local winter sports fans.

Brought to you by the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA), the high-level athletic competition happened Feb. 11 through 13 this year with some COVID protocols in place; they happened with some restrictions in 2021 as well.

SWSA is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that has worked incredibly hard to cultivate the sport of ski jumping in our corner of the world among residents young and old alike for more than nine decades. The group deserves much credit — not only for its initial ambition but for its obvious success -after nearly a century of ski jumping glory at Salisbury’s Satre Hill and at Cornwall’s Mowhawk Ski Area.

The crowds came out on Saturday, with the temperature going up to 50 degrees. Though such warmth resulted in lots more mud than one might have wanted in the parking areas, it also welcomed spectators who might have been deterred by colder weather.

The sun came out every so often and the hill was well prepared for the jumpers, who went fast and far. Sunday was a more traditional kind of ski jump February day, with light snow and temperatures in the 20s, but still a good crowd came out to see the jumpers.

It’s always stunning to see the athletes speeding down the jump, fearlessly and skillfully. But this year, the sight was more welcome than ever, with hordes of fans able to gather together and admire a world-class event.

As has been covered in the pages of this newspaper and The Lakeville Journal for the many years SWSA has held the event (and on our website, www.tricornernews.com), Salisbury has long been an historic ski-jumping center. This is the 96th year of these ski jumps, which include the Eastern National Ski Jumping Championships.

Kudos to all the volunteers who made the ski jumps a successful event once again. Somehow, all involved make it look easy. Rest assured, it is not.

Although the ski jumps are clearly a Connecticut affair, we New Yorkers are fortunate to be such close neighbors. We can easily revel in the excitement of the events and share in the fun of the festivities.

Each season, a number of the jumpers tend to live and train in the Lake Placid area, where the Olympic facilities remain from the memorable 1980 Winter Olympic games, deepening New York’s connection to the Salisbury ski jumps.

But this is the Tri-state region — Empire State residents need no excuse to cross that invisible line and head over the border to share in the excitement and the energy of one of the most anticipated local sporting events of the entire year! Nutmeg State residents are surely happy to welcome us — especially as SWSA volunteers work so hard year after year to ensure the ski jumps are a success, as they were this year.

Next, be ready for the U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Nationals from Feb. 22 to 26. For this event, the ski jumping community from the entire eastern United States come together in Salisbury (where the jumping and Nordic combined happen) and again at Mohawk Mountain (where the Nordic races will be). Rest assured, there will be plenty of New York fans — and Harlem Valley residents — among them.

This is a year when winter sports enthusiasts will have all their wishes come true for seeing some excellent competition. Anyone with an interest in ski jumping should investigate joining SWSA by going to www.jumpfest.org.

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