When I Was Too Scared—or Smart—to Try Ski Jumping

By Jack Limpert

Growing up in Wisconsin I did a lot of skiing and ice skating during the long winters. My hometown of Appleton had a ski jump, not as impressive as you see in the Olympics where the skiers seem to float through the air a long time before landing. But the Appleton ski jump seemed an exciting challenge—you’d fly off the end and float maybe 25  or 30 yards down the hill before landing.

One day I decided I was old enough—12—and experienced enough on skis to give it a try. I had once seen ski jumpers in Iron Mountain, Michigan, near where my mother was from, and I had loved watching the skiers fly down the hill.

I carried my skis up to the top of the Appleton ski jump, slid my feet under the ski’s leather straps, and looked down. After maybe a long minute, I took off the skis and walked back down to solid ground.

I never told my family or friends about being too scared to make the jump. But as with other things as you get older, you decide there’s a time and place to take chances, and not making that ski jump back in Wisconsin was probably the smart thing to do.

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