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Plochingen, February 13, 2009

World’s ski jumping elite on the fast track with CeramTec-ETEC

Aloslide with integrated grinding and brush system
Aloslide with integrated grinding and brush system

A successful premiere – from the perspective of those responsible at CeramTec-ETEC and the operators of the large ski jump in Klingenthal, Saxony. It was the first time that an FIS world cup jumping event took place on an inrun made of Aloslide®, a CeramTec-ETEC development, and the ski jumpers were very satisfied with the track’s quality. The only setback was the gusty weather, which both athletes and spectators had to wait out for several hours before the first competitors were able to jump. The Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer won the competition, and Martin Schmitt took fourth place in front of the enthusiastic crowd.

There was a press conference at the media center leading up to the event where CeramTec-ETEC introduced the world’s most advanced ski jump to the international press. CeramTec-ETEC sales director Rainer Steven explained the main feature of the jump, the Aloslide® inrun. At the jump’s core is the combined heating and cooling system that enables fast and easy switching between summer and winter operation. In summer, the athletes ski down the jump directly over the elements made of high-performance ceramics; in winter, on the ice. A stable, 20-mm thick layer of artificial ice forms very quickly. A high-tech grinder designed especially for this system travels the track and keeps the artificial ice precisely the right height and absolutely smooth at all times. Additional attachments such as dozer blades and brushes are used during heavy snowfall to keep the entire track area clear according to FIS specifications.

View of the ski jump from the stands This ensures that all athletes compete under the same conditions as they jump. Long-time trainer Joachim Winterlich is very impressed with the special structure of the ice surface that is practically always the same for every athlete as they jump: “These are the ideal conditions for our athletes to develop and show their skills.”

The system works in any weather, making it possible to jump even in mild winters without snow. Jump project manager Rüdiger Schunk used to have to fight the unpredictable weather conditions, and numerous helpers were often needed to prepare the jump accordingly. “Today,” says Schunk, “preparing the jump is a one-man job, and it doesn’t take more than three days to have it in perfect condition and ready for competition.”

The weather-independent all-year-round system isn’t the only reason the ski jump in Klingenthal is increasingly being used as a training facility. The system for dynamometric measurements developed by the IAT (Institute for Applied Training Sciences) at Leipzig University and now installed in Klingenthal lets professionals and next-generation sports stars alike produce motion analyses for close examination and optimization of their body posture shortly before they jump.

“With this system, the weather is no longer a major factor 95 percent of the time. Fresh wet snow is the only thing that still causes problems,” says FIS racing director Dr. Walter Hofer. Hofer sees the system as a positive development, as the jump itself is a sensitive area during sporting events. A high-quality track is also important for the safety of the athletes – and with the continuous further developments, accidents are now much less frequent.

CeramTec CEO Dr. Ulf-D. Zimmermann is both pleased and proud to be able to contribute to the success of such large sporting events with high-performance ceramic products from the CeramTec Group.

Press conference
Dr. Walter Hofer, Rainer Schunk, Dr. Zimmermann, Rainer Steven, district administrator Dr. Tassilo Lenk and trainer Joachim Winterlich