Ski Jumping Rules

Ski Jumping
Photo Credit: hkratky /

Ski jumping is one of the most famous and iconic winter sports that sees competitors attempt to jump off a large ramp and land successfully scoring the most points. As part of the Winter Olympics since it began in 1924 for men and, since 2014 for women, it has provided some of the Winter Olympics some of its most dramatic moments. Ski jumping is actually a form of Nordic skiing although unlike most other forms of skiing it is not done on a piste, rather on a specially constructed ramp known as an in-run.

A popular winter sport around the world, it came to wider world attention in 1988 when the UK’s Eddie the Eagle became an unlikely world star when he came last out of 73 competitors in the 1988 Winter Games. In 2016, a critically acclaimed film was made about his exploits at the games.

Unsurprisingly, thanks to their geographic locations, Norway, Finland and Austria are by far the most successful ski jumping nations.

Object of the Game

The object of ski jumping is very simple. It is to score more points from the judges than the other competitors. Each competitor must descend down a specially constructed ramp, known as an in-run, until they eventually reach the end ramp from which they ski off. From here, each competitor attempts to ‘fly’ as far as they can through the air and then successfully land on the steeply sloped hill that lies below as close to the ‘K Line’ as possible.

Players & Equipment

Ski jumping is an individual event and one that has relatively few pieces of equipment.

  • Jumping Skis: These are specially designed skis that are made specifically for ski jumping. They are longer than normal skis at about 252cm long and are heavier too, as they have to be more substantial to cope with the impact of landings. All ski jumping skis have free heel bindings.
  • Ski Boots: Once again, specialist equipment is needed. In ski jumping, a jumper needs boots that let them lean forward during a flight. They also need to be flexible and with a high back but low cut front.
  • Ski Suit: Ski suits are required to be manufactured by with the same material throughout and are sleek, streamlined and stretchable.
  • Helmet: Helmets are mandatory in ski jumping competitions thanks to the potential dangers of the sport.


Each hill has a line calculated and marked on it known as the K Line. Jumpers must try to land as close to this as possible. Deductions of points are made for each metre over or under the ski jumper lands. There are other considerations that judges make too. They also consider:

  • Style: The better the form of the ski jumper, the more points they will receive.
  • Bodyweight: Ski jumpers whose weight is very low are penalized with a shorter maximum ski length, reducing the aerodynamic lift they can achieve. This is because lighter jumpers can often jump further.
  • Gate Factor: This is where certain compensation is given for variable outdoor conditions. This is to ensure that if weather conditions change during a competition, all competitors are treated equally.
  • Wind Conditions: Another factor to provide fairness as jumpers with a strong wind behind them will be at a big advantage. Therefore, their jumps may be factored to take this into account.


The winner of a ski jumping competition is the one who has the most points at the end of the competition.

Rules of Ski Jumping

  • Most major ski jumping competitions are made up of two rounds.
  • The first round consists of 50 jumpers who each get two jumps.
  • Only valid jumps in which the jumper successfully lands without touching the ground with their hands are counted.
  • All jumps are assessed by five judges.
  • Landings are videotaped to ensure exact measuring.
  • The overall scores of each jumpers jumps are added and the top 30 competitors progress to the next round.
  • The 30 competitors each make two more jumps with the scores of each added up. The jumper with the highest number of points is declared the winner.