There was good air here Sunday . . . clear and with only a whisper of a breeze. It was the second and final day of the reborn National Gelande Championships.
A field of 75 veterans and professionals got their air off the old mine dump mound near the base of the Alta resort. Some got more than others; others simply looked better doing it. Under gelande rules, a good jump is both long and stylish.Winning the event was Karl Jacobson of Park City. Besides all due glory, Jacobson will pocket $1,500 for his two most-perfect jumps. Second was Phil Lamothe, a two-time national gelande champion, and third was Snowbird's Steve Bounous.
Under gelande rules, first written and then re-written at Alta by ski master Alf Engen, jumpers must use alpine ski equipment instead of regular ski-jumping gear, they must go for distance, and at the peak of the jump they must be in a tuck with ski tips down, arms out and quiet, and knees tucked.
Jacobson posted jumps of 144 and 146 feet but ended up winning it on his style by earning points of 49 and 54, respectively, out of a possible 60. Lamothe had the distance, winning longest-jump honors with a second leap of 149 feet, but could do no better than 49 on style. Bounous lacked distance, having jumps of 140 and 134, but made up with his style of 53 and 52 points for the two jumps.
Jacobson finished with 221.3 points, Lamothe had 217.2 and Bounous 216.5.
In the veterans class, another Bounous rekindled memories. Junior Bounous, ski school director at Snowbird, finished runner-up. Gene Christiansen won the division with 209.9 points to 204.8 for Bounous. Alan Engan was third with 203.2.
Junior Bounous won this event (1971) back when it was an annual happening at Atla. The last year he jumped was the last year the event was held, back in 1974.
He admitted Sunday that the butterflies were still there after all those years . . . "And so is the excitement."
Alan Engen won the event in 1964.
Some of the pros were familiar with the old Alta gelande and some weren't. Keith Rounkles of Snowbasin, who had the longest jump in the first round and who finished sixth, recalled that he started jumping in the last year's of the Alta event (1964-74).
Now he jumps on a small western circuit. He said the keys to good jumps are speed, wax and keeping the body quiet and compact.
Lamothe, of Frisco, Colo., gelande champion in 1984 and 1985, jumped at Alta for the first time Sunday. He called the hill a good one for gelande and said he felt good about his jumps, "although I did get a little wavy there at the end of the second."
Although he was listed among the favorites, young Bounous was a surprise. The last time he jumped was five years ago, and then he only made one jump. Noted for his skiing - he was a member of the U.S. Ski Team - he has not been so recognized for his jumping.
Sunday he was, especially for his style. Two nearly perfect jumps earned him the highest points among the field.
He admitted he would have liked more distance, "especially on the second jump. I didn't go as far as I'd hoped."
The event was started at Alta in 1964. The last year it was held it drew more than 300 competitors and 7,000 spectators. Sunday's event brought out a field of several hundred.
It was brought back this year as part of the 50th-year celebration for Alta.