Why are there little trees on the ski jump ramp?
February 19, 2006 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Last night while watching Olympic ski jumping, I noticed what appeared to be tiny pine trees spaced evenly down the center of the hill, right between the jumpers' ski tracks. What are they for, and why use pine trees?
posted by mr_crash_davis to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
I think pine boughs are sometimes used to help skiers judge depth in flat light conditions.
posted by grex at 10:03 AM on February 19, 2006

Pine because it looks kinda natural, even though they're fake, I think.
posted by wsg at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2006

What grex said. They're not real trees!
posted by anthill at 10:35 AM on February 19, 2006

You may have also seen the occasional camera shot of a ski jumper's crotch as they pass overhead. Whatever the little thingies are for, at least one or two of them conceal TV cameras.
posted by jellicle at 10:58 AM on February 19, 2006

They're to help the jumpers see the ground and see how close they are to the ground. Flat light on snow can make it very difficult to judge distance.

Why pine? Because it's usually fairly easy to find pine boughs near a ski hill, and that's how the ski jumpers practice. You don't want to go changing it for the Olympics.
posted by jlkr at 11:21 AM on February 19, 2006

Response by poster: I understand placing the pine needles and boughs on the landing hill for depth perception, but I'm more interested in what appears to be actual saplings growing on the center of the ramp, which jellicle mentions as concealing cameras in a few spots.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:08 PM on February 19, 2006

They're not real either. They're there to create a sense of speed for tracking shots of the jumper.
posted by insomnus at 1:53 PM on February 19, 2006

My guess is that they indicate to the jumper how far he's got to the end of the ramp. When he's over them he knows exactly how far till blastoff.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 4:45 PM on February 19, 2006

They're to help see where the surface of the snow is. You'll see them during freestyle aerials also.
posted by neuron at 7:23 PM on February 19, 2006

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