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Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships to be held on DRY land

Very interesting...a traditional snow sport is holding a dry-land championship in Lake Placid, New York, this weekend. It makes one wonder if this a sign of global warming or of desperate marketing?

According to usskiteam.com, the nation's finest ski jumpers and nordic combined athletes will compete on plastic jumps and roller skis for the first time in championship history. It takes place on October 11 during Lake Placid's annual Flaming Leaves Festival. The championships feature a K90 jumping event on a plastic surface for men and women. Nordic combined athletes will also jump the K90 as well as compete in a 10K ski race on roller skis.

USSA Nordic Combined Director John Farra said an already packed nordic ski season was the driving force behind holding an off-snow competition. Plus, these athletes do an incredible amount of their training on plastic and on the road during the summer. The two top spots for this training are Lake Placid, N.Y., and Park City, Utah. But an October event also offered the added aspect of new, fresh marketing for the sport.

"This will be a test event for this no snow format and we will review it after to see if we would continue this direction or move it back to winter," Farra said. This will bring an extra element of crowds, and holding the cross country events on roller skis offers up the chance to bring the event closer to the public on existing roadways instead of tucked away in the woods."

I realize that it's tough to get Americans to follow any kind of skiing in the U.S. We just don't have that tradition that is so evident in Europe, where thousands of spectators can line the courses of major cross-country ski races. But I'm not convinced that synthetic ski competitions are the way to go.

Skiing came about because people needed a way to travel on the snow and enjoy themselves during long winter months. Snow is required for ski competitions. That's the way nature intended it.

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