Building the biggest jump in the Southern Hemisphere

The One Hit Wonder is set to kick of today with the best skiers and boarders from Australia hitting the largest jump in the world right now, but something even bigger than the jump itself is the effort that goes into building it.  Under construction for several weeks in all weather conditions, it was completed before the biggest storm of the season hit early this week, covering the jump with well over a metre of snow.  With wind drifts filling in the hand cut half pipe and flattening the landing, Thredbo Terrain Park Manager Reuben Cameron has been in the pressure cooker recently making sure everything is ready for competition today.

Beginning with two winch cats pushing snow down the hill for nine days straight, the enormous pile of snow was then handed over to Reuben and the Thredbo Park crew.  Building the take off, shaping the jump and building a half pipe, precision cut using a chain saw, the park crew have been working tirelessly cutting, shaping and grading for another 6 days.

“Starting with one plane of snow, digging out the back and putting it on the front gives you the tallest knuckle that you can possibly get”, according to Reuben “and by digging the decks down it also means the take off can be as low as it can possibly be, creating a jump where the exit and landing is somewhat even.”

“That’s what the athletes are looking for, especially with this sort of competition; it’s called a step over.  With all the snow going into making a ginormous landing, it’s a 100 foot jump, you can ride it at 130, 140 and comfortably land and ski out, the landing is graded to one pitch so the sweet spot is inevitably huge.”

A steep take off and landing between 34 and 36 degrees makes for harder building, scarier riding and each year tricks that have never been done before.  “Which is what you hope for, you hope to add to the progression of the sport.  That’s what the guys are looking for, they come here thinking we’re going to hit a massive awesome big jump, we want to do some tricks that have never been done before.”

In his 4th year at Thredbo building the One Hit Wonder jump it’s not getting any easier for Reuben, “We’re really lucky to be able to do it.  It’s good fun and it’s stressful, it’s all the emotions together especially when the weather throws a curve ball at you.”  Coming from Falls Creek, Reuben brought his crew Thomo and Matty with him starting at Thredbo in 2013.   After doing 25 seasons straight between Falls Creek and Mammoth Mountain, this is his 17th season park building.  “As far as terrain parks go, I just like to build jumps pretty much, these guys will testify to that.”

The One Hit Wonder will be going down at Thredbo today.  Go and check out the best skiers and boarders in Australia hitting the biggest jump in the world right now!

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