They can fly more than 300 feet off the same jumps as the men. They are established on the World Cup circuit and spend their lives training to compete at the highest level. So why have female ski jumpers been denied entry into the Olympics? Vanessa Pierce takes an inside look at the world of female ski jumping and their struggle to gain entry onto the biggest stage in alpine sports: the Olympics.

“In Europe, US ski jumper Lindsey Van is a celebrity. At just 23, she is a pioneer in a women’s sport that goes mostly unnoticed in North America, and that has long sought Olympic acceptance. But right now that’s not so important because the 10th Annual Springer Tournee, a national gathering of nordic jumpers, is underway at the Utah Olympic Park, and Van, as the ski team veteran, is filling in for head coach Kjell Ivar Magnusson while he is vacationing in Norway.

‘Grip it and rip it’ she says, fired up while watching her teammates slide 60 mph down a summer-adapted ramp. They leap head-first off the in-run and land some 300 feet downhill.”

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