Nordic ski jumpers take to snow-free slopes for summer competition in Park City

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PARK CITY, UTAH - Nordic skiers took to the slopes Friday, and, even in the middle of summer, these athletes are conditioning for their winter sports.

The competition is part of the 17th annual Springer Tournee, which is a week-long event that brings Nordic Ski athletes from all over North America to train, mentor and compete.

“Kids who have never tried the sport to kids who are just developing, and they’re all doing it together with the top national athletes both on the men’s and the women’s side,” said US Ski Team spokesperson Tom Kelly.

Organizers said it’s the kind of athletic mentorship they’ve tried to encourage since Salt Lake City hosted the winter Olympics in 2002. Park City Native Will Rhoads placed third in the 100-meter hill. He’ll join professionals Saturday in the US Championships.

“For me, it’s the first competition of the summer,” Rhoads said. “So I can kind of gauge where I was. See how I was going to handle the competition atmosphere, because it’s always a little different from training..”

The Springer Tournee is hosted by the Park City Nordic Ski Club. Program director Robert Lazzaroni said it’s grown over the years to become a premier event. The fact that it happens in the summer also draws more spectators.

“Give their inspiration to the little ones,” Lazzaroni said. “And also still fire up the oldest ones, competing at the highest level, to be the next generation coming up.”

Events this weekend will move to the 134-meter hill, and also combine simulated cross country training at Soldier Hollow.

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