Fly Boys

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Modern alpine racers are typically hulking figures,

lifting weights and-if rumors are to be believed-perhaps even consuming steroids in a constant bid to add speed-enhancing mass to their frames. Ironically, modern ski jumping has seen the opposite phenomenon: jumpers striving to lose weight, often to unhealthy degrees.

Here's the skinny: Over the past two decades, jumpers have found that the less they weigh and the longer their skis are, the longer they can remain airborne-and therefore the farther they can fly. Because officials have capped ski length, international jumping stars have had to resort to drastic weight-loss regimens to improve distances. With jumping competitions racking up big ratings on European television, disturbingly underfed flyers have begun raising eyebrows. One race official worries about youth entering a sport "which requires dieting to a point of illness."

To attack the problem, the FIS introduced stringent guidelines this season to regulate ski length in relation to height and weight. For instance, a five-foot-seven-inch jumper weighing 127.6 pounds (including clothing and boots) may no longer use skis longer than 250 cm. If he reduces his weight further, he'll have to jump on shorter skis, taking away any competitive advantage-and the desire to skip dessert.



A highly competitive racer until he switched to Team Summit’s big mountain program this season, Rodney can’t seem to shake his background. “Big George will simply take the entire venue,” Jim Jack says about Rodney’s style in competition.     “He skis really fast and technically solid, and takes huge airs,” says Van Nuys. “But the best thing is that he’s always having fun no matter what —he doesn’t care if he crashes.”     Rodney, who attends Winter School in Salt Lake City, will be graduating in the fall and heading back to Summit to continue to train for the adult tour and compete on that next year. He’s just picked up Smith and SkullCandy as sponsors, and after throwing a 60-foot back flip in the JWT event at Snowbird, he’ll be someone to watch on next year’s FWT.

The Boys of Big Mountain

The next generation of competitive big mountain skiers is, ironically, coming out of Colorado’s pipe and park mecca, Summit County.


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Japan's Rishiri Island is one giant mountain. The views would be great if you could, you know, actually see.