Salisbury prepares for annual Jumpfest - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Salisbury prepares for annual Jumpfest

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The town of Salisbury is preparing for its annual Jumpfest, which starts Friday night. (WFSB) The town of Salisbury is preparing for its annual Jumpfest, which starts Friday night. (WFSB)
SALISBURY, CT (WFSB) -

Despite the wind chill warnings keeping people indoors this weekend, people in one Connecticut town will be spending their time outdoors.

That's because the town of Salisbury is preparing for its annual Jumpfest, which starts Friday night.

Just like the Olympics, people will be ski-jumping off Satre hill. It's one of the largest ski jumps in the Northeast. 

This year is the town's 90th annual celebration, and the cold weather won't stop people from attending.

"It's going to be cold, but it's February. And hopefully the crowds will realize that. You dress warmly here," said Willie Hallihan, the Association Director of Salisbury Winter Sports.

Hallihan recommended those willing to brave the crowds bring hats, gloves, insulated boots and foot warmers.

Folks across Salisbury said you never truly experience ski jumping until you've seen it in person. Hallihan agreed. 

"They're leaving the takeoff at 50 miles an hour. They're going up to 200 feet through the air. You can hear the skis slapping on the landing hill and everyone has cowbells," he said. Hallihan noted that many Olympians got their start in Connecticut. 

The annual jumpfest began back in the 1920s, when a Norwegian immigrant found work in Salisbury. He turned out to be one of the best Nordic skiers in the world.

Hallihan remembers the immigrant's story well.

"One day he famously climbed to the top of a barn roof and skied off the edge of it and landed safely, just to show the locals the wonder of the sport," he said.

After the barn jump, a ramp was built for ski jumping. It's grown to a state-of-the-art 70 meter jump.

Firefighters were out Friday morning spraying the ramp with more water to pack it down as much as possible for takeoff for the jumpers.

Jumpfest ends Sunday with the championships. 

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