The Thrill of Flying: A look inside the mind of a ski jumper - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

The Thrill of Flying: A look inside the mind of a ski jumper


WESTBY, Wisc. (KTTC) -- First, you climb the stairs, and then the boots are tied tight.  Once the equipment is ready all that is left is to set your mind to thinking that, "Everyone thinks I'm crazy," a direct quote from St. Paul-based ski jumper Christian Friberg.

Welcome to the boundless life of a ski jumper.  A unique sport built around man's endless desire to fly.

"There's really nothing to describe it.  It's really one of the best feelings in the air. You just get out there on top of it, and it just picks you up and floats you away," says Friberg.

It's a feeling that had daredevils like Friberg addicted before they even knew what fear was.

"I started when I was 4 and I played baseball and soccer, and once you become pretty good and once you get that feeling, I mean, you get hooked," says Chicago-based ski jumper Michael Glasder.

It takes a special type of person to commit to such death defying feats.

"I'm a pretty calm person, normally I mean, pretty relaxed. I really love competing when it comes to competition I'm a pretty intense guy," says Glasder.

It's that intensity, and maybe the craziness of it, that has fans around the world hooked.

"I mean think about it, you've got people coming off a 118 meter hill, I mean, it takes a lot to go up and do it," says ski jump fan Paul Schilling.

Fans appreciate the sheer guts it takes to launch into the air and fly.  They even show it with a round of cow bells.  Clapping is a typical sign of cheer in sport, but when you're flying 130 meters through the air, sometimes you need something with a little more of a ring to it no matter how you put it together.

"Technically it's 660 grains of lead and copper flying out of that," says Schilling as he describes the bullet ringer of his homemade cow bell.

Skiers fly out of the shoot as fast as Schilling's bullet creating a real sense of danger that grabs fans and athletes.

"Don't care if you hurt yourself. You go for the gold," explains Friberg.

A chance each of these young competitors hope to have in South Korea for the 2018 Olympic games.

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