There’s no lack of fresh powder at Hilltop Ski Area, but for some people, there’s still plenty of work left to do before they’re ready to hit the slopes.
Katherine Murray, 12, is one of thirty Anchorage kids learning to ski jump through the Anchorage Nordic Ski Association. On Saturday, they spent the afternoon prepping the Karl Eid Ski Jump facility for the first flight of the season.
“We have to go up and shovel it and pack it down with our feet,” Murray said. “Takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.”
The ski association’s jump program has taken off in recent years, and Coach Mike Jokela said he’s now seeing students as young as five years old.
"They are excited,” Jokela said. “Ski jumping is something that's mysterious to a lot of people."
Why the sudden popularity?
Program volunteers said they’re seeing an upswing in female students because in 2014, women will be able to compete in ski jumping at the Olympic level for the first time in history.
It all starts off with a love of the sport.
"I went off it and the best part is in the air," Murray said, describing her first jump off the 15-meter ramp last winter. "You're flying and you're like, 'this is not that bad, this is the best feeling ever.'"