HomeWhy Milton CATNewsSki Jumping Returns to Big Nansen with Help from Milton CAT Customer

Ski Jumping Returns to Big Nansen with Help from Milton CAT Customer

On Sunday, January 23rd, competitive ski jumping returned to the Big Nansen Ski Jumping complex in Milan, NH, after 37 years of dormancy. Jumpers from across the northeast competed on the towerless 39m and 10m jumps. The 80m ski jump, nicknamed the “Sleeping Giant,” remains closed as additional funding is required to rebuild the jump’s steel-tower structure to meet competitive ski jumping standards.

Gorham, NH, contractor and longtime Milton CAT Customer, Lee T. Corrigan LLC reprofiled the landing base of the Sleeping Giant as well as restored the 39m jump used for Sunday’s competition. The jumps were designed by the country’s preeminent ski jump designer, Matt Gundry of CBS Squared Inc. The 10m jump was built by volunteers and designed for younger skiers.

The Big Nansen Ski Jump was built in 1937 and was the tallest ski jump in the United States for nearly 50 years. Big Nansen hosted the U.S. Winter Olympic Trials in 1938. The site closed in 1988 and sat abandoned until 2017 when it was re-decked for World Champion Sarah Hendrickson’s Red Bull stunt. Her jump ignited the effort to revitalize the site to attract young jumpers and reestablish the sport in the area. Overseen by the Friends of Nansen Ski Jump, a committee of the Nansen Ski Club, the restoration project has taken longer than expected due to lack of funding and setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee Corrigan’s team restored the 39m jump by clearing the vegetation on the mountain and grading the slope to meet the sport’s safety and aerodynamic standards. The team prepared the base of the 80m jump by clearing the vegetation, installing underground utilities, grading the slope, installing a landing hill deflection system, and building a concrete retaining wall at the jump’s take-off. The steep slope - as extreme as 55° in some sections - and tight tolerances made the project challenging and memorable. To grade the hill, they winched their excavator and dozer up the slope with a snatch block pulley system with two 7/8” cables. Their dozer is equipped with a Trimble GSC 900 3D system that helped them meet the strict standards. Corrigan explained, “It would be hard to imagine the project without Trimble technology. It would be painfully slow without it.” They applied up to 4’ of gravel in some areas to achieve proper slope conditions.

The Nansen Ski Club brought in snowmaking equipment to cover the jumps for the competition. 1,800ft of fire hose pumped water from the Androscoggin River into the snow cannon. An air compressor rented from Milton Rents then shot air through the snow cannon’s nozzle to blanket the hills with snow.

The competition was a success in reawakening the site and renewing interest in ski jumping. Cooper Dodds of Hanover, NH, won and set the first distance record on the 39m hill with two jumps of 43.5m. “The hill was awesome,” Dodds told the New Hampshire Union leader, “and it’s just such a blast to ski a hill for the first time.” Dodds was confident in setting a record as he had tested the jump two days before the competition and found it conducive to extended soaring.

Thank you to Lee T. Corrigan LLC for working hard to revitalize an important part of New Hampshire’s history and helping bring competitive ski jumping back to the area.

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