STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Omaha once hosted ski jumping

For many of us, we see so many Winter Olympians jumping and sailing and flying through great heights. From snowboardi...

Posted: Feb. 19, 2018 11:26 PM
Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 11:26 PM

For many of us, we see so many Winter Olympians jumping and sailing and flying through great heights. From snowboarding to ski jumping – the athletes make jumping off a building into snow seem effortless.

"I've been here for 48-years, and I'm 75," said Wendell Harden.

Wendell Harden knows Ponco Hills. "I hunted these hills for mushrooms," he said.

But even he didn't know about a piece of Omaha history – hidden among the trees until he stumbled upon the idea years ago.

"I came across the pillars and inquired what they were. I was told it was part of a ski jump," Harden told 6 News.

Decades ago – a path had been carved for a ski jump – and the Nebraska State Historical Society has film in its collection to prove it. The year was 1930. Ski jumping had made its Olympic debut just a few years earlier in France. They built a ski jump from scratch which looks like an engineering marvel.

Organizers came with snow, too.

"They brought it [the snow] in from Wyoming in railroad cars," he said.

After watching the film from years ago, figuring out how the jumpers would stop seems like an afterthought.

"There's that video of the guy crashing into a tree. You don't have much steering that high up," said Wendell.

A pile of straw was supposed to stop the athletes. Each ski jumper approached it differently.

Reporter: Did you ever ski jump?

Wendell: "No. I rode bulls for a living and that ain't as bad as jumping off of one of them."

So as we watch the Winter Games and see how far we've come, remember the ski jumpers who once showed off their skills in middle America. For perspective – the winning jump of these Olympic games traveled 150-yards in the air.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 56°
Albert Lea
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Austin
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 54°
Charles City
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Rochester
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 42°
Tracking slowly clearing skies today and temps returning to normal.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Chris' PM Weather Forecast 5/21

Image

RPD talks bomb scare

Image

Wastewater treatment plant moratorium

Image

Inclement weather compensation plan

Image

Chris' Reality Graphics

Image

Utility rates going up in Mason City

Image

Bryce Ball experiences success at DBU

Image

Lourdes baseball looks to continue undefeated season

Image

IHSAA/IGHSAU golf state finalists

Image

Somerby hosts Kid's Cup

Community Events