What's Next? Tsunami?


Ski jumpers are used to having meets canceled by heavy snows and poor visibility, but not by typhoons.

But it happened last summer, in Muju, South Korea, 115 miles southeast of Seoul. How? Blame it on plastic snow. Since its development about 40 years ago, there's been so much improvement in slipperiness and durability that there's now a regular international summer jumping circuit -- in Austria, Finland, France, Japan, and South Korea -- held on the stuff. Summertime jumps of 100 meters or more are commonplace.

Which is why we have this typhoon problem. Typhoons (called hurricanes in the Atlantic) are warm-weather phenomena. They're also the last thing any of the jumpers or event officials, most of whom are European, anticipated. When the wind kicked up during the first round, the jumpers tumbled like ninepins. The meet was finally stopped when competitors refused to jump.

No damage was reported to either the jump or the nearby ski area. Defying tropical meteorology, Janne Ahonen of Finland went on to become the overall winner of the eight-meet circuit.