LAKE PLACID - Saranac Lake's Peter Frenette stunned the local ski-jumping community on Saturday with a record-breaking 108-meter jump at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex during the Flaming Leaves Festival.
"I didn't think that it was possible to go that far and land on this hill," Frenette said afterward.
U.S. National Ski Jumping coach Casey Colby said it was the longest recorded jump on the 90-meter hill, outdistancing the former record of 104 meters held by Clint Jones, a U.S. ski jumping coach from Park City, Utah.
Saranac Lake’s Peter Frenette gets air during his record-breaking jump of 108 meters Saturday at the Olympic Ski Jumping Complex. Frenette broke the hill record by four meters.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
"It was shocking to hear that length of a jump, but it was a good jump," Colby said. "He never seems to disappoint when it comes to competition time."
Frenette's extraordinary jump took place in the first round of competition Saturday. He jumped 103 meters in his second jump, winning the overall competition for the open class while earning a score of 290 from the five judges.
The leap was so long that Frenette pretty much outjumped the hill, resulting in him landing on nearly flat ground instead of the steep terrain where most athletes touch down.
"I was definitely a little nervous looking down, looking at the flat ground and thinking, 'Oh, man, my legs are going to hurt after this one,'" Frenette said.
Second place went to Nick Alexander of Lebanon N.H., who jumped 104 meters and 97.5 meters for a score of 268.
Nordic combined Olympian Eric Camerota, a Salt Lake City, Utah native, finished third with jumps of 100 and 97 meters for 260 points.
Vermontville native Billy Demong also had a great jump of 102 meters during the first round. The jump by the nordic combined Olympic gold medalist was the fourth longest of the day.
Demong placed ninth overall in the ski-jumping competition. He, too, was impressed by Frenette.
"That's pretty cool," Demong said. "It's definitely one of the longest jumps I've ever seen relative to the hill size."
Trevor Edlund of St. Paul, Minn. claimed first place in Saturday's junior class with a distances of 89.5 and 93 meters, finishing with 228.5 points.
Adam Snyder of Park City, Utah captured a silver medal among the juniors with jumps measuring 98 and 96 meters for 226 points. Kevin Bickner of Wauconda, Ill. was the junior event's bronze medalist. Bickner followed up his first jump of 91 meters with a jump of 93 and finished with 224.5 points.
But Saturday was all about Frenette. A graduate of Saranac Lake High School this past June, Frenette made his first trip to the Olympics in February. He said the experience has helped him in competition since then.
"The Olympics definitely shows you the highest level that you want to be at and just gets you ready for any competition you'll be in," Frenette said.
Colby said Frenette has been successful in the past year because of some technique changes he made.
"It just got him a lot more aggressive, and with every month that passed last winter, he just got more confident and more confident to try new things and more aggressive things," Colby said.
Plus, Frenette has the right body size and the right mentality to be a successful ski jumper, Colby said.
"Being light and brave is a big deal in this sport," Colby said.
This winter, Frenette will start off competing on America's Continental Cup team, potentially joining the Word Cup squad later in the season. Alexander will join him on that team.
"If they prove themselves in the top five, top 10 consistently, then it's time to move up because they'll want to move on to that World Cup level and score points as well," Colby said. "Results will determine it, and we're starting out on the second tier just to get the season started on a high note."
This weekend, though, Frenette wasn't looking ahead. It was a chance to reflect on what he'd just done.
"I've been jumping here since I was 6, so it's great to have the hill record," Frenette said.
Complete results are available on the Web at www.skijumpeast.com/results/rslt11c.htm.
Contact Mike Lynch at 891-2600 ext. 28 or firstname.lastname@example.org.