Waking the Sleeping Giant: Milton CAT Customer Restores the Big Nansen Ski Jump
Gorham, NH, contractor and longtime Milton CAT Customer, Lee T. Corrigan LLC is reprofiling the landing base of the Big Nansen Ski Jump in Milan, NH, to bring the jump back up to the sport’s standards.
The historic 80m ski jump, nicknamed the “Sleeping Giant,” 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. The project is being overseen by the Friends of Nansen Ski Jump, a committee of the Nansen Ski Club.
Lee Corrigan’s team is preparing the base of the 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 make this project challenging and memorable. To grade the hill, they are winching 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 to help 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 are applying up to 4’ of gravel to achieve proper slope conditions.
The reprofiling of the landing base is the only aspect of the project that is currently underway. Lack of funding and the spike in material prices due to COVID-19 has caused some setbacks for the later phases of the project. A bid is currently out for the restoration of the 40m hill and the construction of a new 20m hill on the same site. The Nansen Ski Club will award the bid once they receive the proper funding. Lee T. Corrigan LLC is the apparent low bidder. The Friends of Nansen hope the smaller jumps will be finished by the end of 2021 so the site can host a high school jumping competition. Treasurer Scott Halvorson explained, “Ski jumping is a strong part of the club’s legacy and creating our new “small” hills will attract youth and parents – locally and statewide – to experience this unique and wholesome activity. As these hills sit in the shadow of the Big Nansen ski jump, they will complement and provide a boost to the area economically as well as infusing significant community pride.”
A bid for the final structural phase of the jump’s renovation will go out once the necessary funding is obtained. The jump was designed by the country’s preeminent ski jump designer, Matt Gundry of CBS Squared Inc.
For a Red Bull commercial, 2013 Women’s Ski Jumping World Champion, Sarah Hendrickson, successfully completed the first jump at Big Nansen since 1985.
Thank you to Lee T. Corrigan LLC for working hard to revitalize an important part of New Hampshire’s history. Milton CAT is proud to support you through the project. To learn more about the Big Nansen Ski Jump, please visit https://www.skinansen.com/the-jump.
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