Video: Hudson ski jumpers practiced with river leap

Historic footage shows a ramp built near Hudson in 1958 which ski jumpers used for summer training.




< 1 minute read

In 1958, ski jumpers in Hudson, Wisconsin devised a way to practice their technique during the summer. They constructed a 66-foot long ramp, with a 14-foot jump, which they could use roller-skis on, with a splashy landing.

This video captures the fun:

Writer Brenda Bredahl provided more history about the jump in a 2011 Hudson Patch story:

“We had gotten the idea from a summer training site in Finland called Vassi Maki,” Wakefield said. “So one day we were out hiking with a six-pack, a little down from Afton on the Minnesota side. We spotted what looked like a good area across the river and later went over into Wisconsin and found a road back there. We approached the landowner and had to get the permission of the Army Corps of Engineers.”

Located near a boat dock known as the “St. Croix Riviera” about a half mile north of the Kinnickinnic confluence, the “Wisconsin Vassi Maki” received attention from the St. Paul Dispatch and Life magazine (the latter never published) as it was the only summer water training slide in the country. A 66-foot slide hugging the riverbank, it had a takeoff at 14 feet above the water and was used to hone in-run, takeoff and timing techniques.

Wakefield, Harrington, and other SPSC members known as “water jumpers” would strap on self-engineered roller-skate-skis for a daring dive into the river. The fun didn’t last as the slide slid into the river during a spring flood in 1961.

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Video: Hudson ski jumpers practiced with river leap