The Nansen Ski Jump in Milan, New Hampshire, is a historic landmark that once hosted some of the most exhilarating ski jumping competitions in the world. Today, it stands abandoned and in a state of disrepair, but its legacy lives on as a testament to the sport and the incredible feats of athleticism it inspired.
Built in 1936, the Nansen Ski Jump was named after Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. He was famous for crossing Greenland on cross-country skis in 1888 and receiving the Nobel Prize in 1922. The jump was a marvel of engineering, standing 171 feet tall and boasting a pitch of 37 degrees. At the time of its construction, it was the largest and most impressive ski jump in the world.
The Nansen Ski Jump quickly became a hub of activity, attracting thousands of visitors to Milan, New Hampshire each year. In 1938, the first Olympic trails for the US were held at the jump. It hosted the National Ski Jumping Championships in 1940 and 1941, and many world records were set on its slopes. Among the most memorable events held at the jump was the 1940 “Nansen Tournament,” which drew crowds of up to 12,000 people and featured the best ski jumpers from around the world.
However, the Nansen Ski Jump’s popularity began to wane in the post-World War II era. The introduction of new materials and technologies in ski jumping led to the construction of larger and more modern jumps in other parts of the world, and the Nansen Ski Jump eventually fell into disuse. It was officially closed in 1988, and has since been left to deteriorate.
Despite its current state of neglect, the Nansen Ski Jump remains a beloved landmark in Milan and a symbol of the town’s rich skiing heritage. Efforts have been made in recent years to preserve the jump and turn it into a tourist attraction, with some success. A group of local volunteers has formed the Nansen Ski Jump Restoration Committee, which has raised funds to repair and stabilize the jump’s deteriorating infrastructure.
While the Nansen Ski Jump may never again be a center of skiing activity, its legacy as a historic landmark and a tribute to the athleticism and ingenuity of ski jumpers lives on. Visitors to Milan, New Hampshire can still see the jump from a distance and imagine the thrill of watching world-class athletes launch themselves into the air and soar across the winter landscape.
- Year Established: 1936
- Year Abandoned: 1988
- Original Function: Worldest tallest ski jump