The History of Vikersund
The history of the world’s largest ski-jump in Vikersund started over one hundred years ago. The Vikersund Ski Club was established in 1894; and during the first 40 years, the club organized competitions at 6 different ski slopes. That’s why, in 1935, a committee was chosen to find a suitable location to build a new ski slope. In 1936, Vikersundbakken was opened. Kristian Hovde was the first man out; but it was Hilmar Myhra from Kongsberg who jumped the farthest, with a jump of 85 meters. Kristian Hovde later became the hill chief for Vikersundbakken and played an important role in expanding the hill further. This happened in 1955; but since the changes weren’t enough to jump over 100 meters, Hovde made a few adjustments the summer of 1956. That was successful; and the following winter, Arne Hoel became the first jumper over the 100-meter mark with a jump of 100.5 meters.
Records and World Championships
Vikersund’s proud ski history got a boost in the 1960’s. In 1964, Vikersund managed to win the fight to build Norway’s ski-flying hill. In March, 1966, it was ready for opening, and Bjørn Wirkola’s world record of 146 meters rang out over the whole world of skiing. In 1977, the first World Championships in ski-flying was held at Vikersundbakken; with the Swiss Walter Steiner as the winner. The next time that a World Championship in ski-flying was held at Vikersundbakken was in 1990. The hill was built out to a K-175 before the competition, and the lack of snow resulted in just one competition day. Vikersund’s local hope, Ole Gunnar Fidjestøl, sat a new hill record with 167 meters; but both Matti Nykänen (Finland) and Dieter Thoma (West Germany) jumped 171 meters, and the German won the competition. The last World Championships at Vikersund was in 2000. Before the competition, the hill was, again, expanded; this time to K-185 meters. That made it possible for Andreas Goldberger to set a hill record with 207 meters during the qualifying. Later, during the 2000’s, Roland Müller set an unofficial hill record of 219 meters. This record was tied by Harri Olli during the World Cup competitions in 2009, and Olli’s jump stood as an official hill record.
World Record at the World’s Largest Ski-Jump
Before the Trial World Championships in 2011, a new, comprehensive expansion of Vikersundbakken was done. The hill became a full K195, and declared the world’s largest ski-jump. During the Trial World Championships, Johan Remen Evensen flew down to a fantastic, new world record of 246.5 meters. In 2011, further improvements were made to the hill before the World Championships in February, 2012. The expectations before the World Championships were sky high, and were met. With more than 60,000 spectators and a record-high number of television viewers, it became the all-time World Championships in ski-flying!
February, 2015, the World Cup will be in Vikersund again. Peter Prevc provided an historic Saturday in Vikersund. For the first time, a person jumped 250 meters on skis.
The party wasn’t over. Slovenian Peter Prevc only got to hold the world record for just under 24 hours. When Anders Fannemel landed at 251.5 meters in the first round of Sunday’s World Cup in ski-flying, the record was, again, in Norwegian hands. And the Vikersund organizers had to order a new sign.