Look Before You Leap

In gay Paris, they tell the story of the man who fall off the Eiffel tower. As he passed the platform halfway down, an observer heard him mutter. "Well, I'm all right so far." So it is with skijumping, anybody can still sail through the air; it's when you hit the ground that you have to start worrying.

Nobody knows precisely how the practice of jumping began. The most common guess is that somebody (like the individual above) discovered a handsome tow but lost his way on the trip down and hurtled off a convenient cliff.

Just as there are people who enjoy batting their heads against a wall there are the ski-jumpers. But ski-jumping isn't as dangerous as it sounds. There are more people killed or injured each year hunting sharks with knives or playing Russian roulette, than in slat sailing. In a recent article Art Devlin claimed jumpers are hurt only once in every thousand jumps, but Lloyds of London is still loath to take any policies in the ski-jumping field.

No matter how one may fell about ski jumpers, there is one quality they have which cannot be denied; every snow-leaper has guts, even though he threatens to spread them around the countryside at any time.