Ski jumpers, music highlight Flaming Leaves Festival
LAKE PLACID — As the skiers reached speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour, soaring off the 90-meter jump, they ripped through the air. The wind around their bodies sounded as if it shattered. Seventy meters later, and the jumpers stuck the landings.
This was the first time Cayley Hallahan and Greg Casto of Rochester had ever seen ski jumping up close. They said it’s exhilarating to watch, but they’d probably never want to participate.
“Absolutely not,” Hallahan said with a laugh.
“Maybe on a smaller jump,” Casto said.
The two found enough joy in the non-jumping activities that day.
Saturday and Sunday were the annual Flaming Leaves Festival at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid. The festival was not only the site of the 2018 U.S. cups for both ski jumping and Nordic combined but also an highlight of Adirondack life and art.
One of the main attractions was a booth featuring teachers from the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne. Barbara Boughton, a basketry teacher, said the school is give folks the opportunity to maintain a connection to the historical crafts of the Adirondacks.
“Blacksmithing and basket making are tow of our most popular classes,” she said, “but we offer plenty of programs like rustic furniture making, canoe making, traditional cooking, loom weaving, needle felting, coopering. Any material that you can imagine having been worked with in the home or the Adirondack outdoors, we make at the school.
“We want to pass on not only the skills but the importance of the crafts.”
Stationed next to Boughton was Mac Petrequin, a banjo maker with the folk school. He makes the bodies of his instruments out of old cookie tins he finds in thrift store and on eBay.com. Petrequin gave Hallahan and Castor basic lesson in Scruggs style, a banjo finger picking method made popular by Nashville native Earl Scruggs in the 1940s.
“This is my first time playing banjo,” Hallahan said. “I play guitar and ukulele, but now I’m inclined to buy a banjo.”
While skiers zoomed down the 90-meter jump, spectators took trips to the top of the decommissioned 120-meter jump. Crowds of people packed into the small elevator. There’s only two floors but about 300 feet in between them. As the glass box ascended the shaft, the red, orange and yellow tops of trees were replaced with white nothingness. A few people in the car got uncomfortable with the height and let out anxious whimpers. At the top, there wasn’t really a view, just the faint image of what Veli-Matti Lindstrom of Finland saw before his record breaking jump of 135.5 meters in 2002.
Ski jumping results will be available in Tuesday’s Enterprise.