The Olympics better watch out out – the 2011 FIS Nordic World Ski Championship is in town. Actually, it’s in Oslo, Norway (until March 6, 2011) and it probably won’t air on any US channels (unless you have some super sports cable package) but the new ski jump, designed by the inimitable folks at JDS Architects, is giving every ski jump ever built a run for their money. If you can recall what a regular ski jump looks like, it’s a pretty basic structure with a long ramp and some kind of vertical support at the high end that both stabilizes the ramp and provides a way for the skiers to get up to the top.
Notice, however, that this new ski jump, called the Holmenkollen Ski Jump, lacks a vertical column, allowing the snake-like form to arc elegantly into the air unencumbered by any aesthetic displeasures. This spectacular, and frankly kind of amazing feat of engineering is designed to touch the ground in two specific places. The S-curve took its form from the shape needed to maintain its balance. The ramp is glass paneled with an observation deck that provides people with an unobstructed view from the top. And what’s most incredible about this ski jump is that JDS has taken a structure that has heretofore been designed for functionality alone and created something really breathtaking.