William Munoz

(Missoula Current) The annual Snowbowl Cup Gelande Championship attracted competitors from across the West this weekend, and saw this year's record jump go back to Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Gelande is short for the German “gelandesprung,” which means terrain jump. In the better-known Olympic Nordic jumping, the skier's heel is loose to allow much greater control. But the gelande jumper is using alpine bindings with the heel attached to the skis.

This results in less control, but the gelande jump is considerably shorter than the Olympic competition.

Gelande jumping traces its start to Alta ski area in Utah in the 1960's. Its popularity spread across neighboring Colorado and made its way Snowbowl in Missoula in 1974.

The Snowbowl run is unique in the sport given its all-natural terrain. The approach also takes a challenging dogleg to the left. The Snowbowl run is prominent at the base of the mountain, with the Grizzly chair lift traveling over the runout.

The record distance at the Snowbowl event is 206 feet, a mark held by Erik Wilson. This year's competition was won by four-time champion Marsh Gooding from Steamboat Springs with a jump of 195 feet.

The all time record was for alpine jumping was set in Steamboat by Rolf Wilson at 374 feet. In comparison, a football field is only 300 feet goalpost to goalpost.

Snowbowl Cup Gelande Championship