The ski jumping hills in Planica are considered the pride of all Slovenians, while the competitions are almost a national holiday. National pride is understandable as Slovenians, as a relatively small nation (approx. 2 million), have become a world superpower in ski jumping and flying.
The history of ski jumping in Slovenia dates back to 1921 when the first Slovenian ski jumping hill was built in Bohinj, where Jože Pogačar set the first Slovenian and at the same time Yugoslav national record with 9 meters.
The Bloudek Giant, which for 16 years was considered the largest in the world, was built in 1934. In 1936, it became the first place where a man jumped more than 100 meters in history. The record was set on 15 March 1936 by 18-year-old Austrian Sepp Bradl, who landed at 101.5 meters and became world famous for his record-breaking jump. Over the years, 13 world records have been set on the hill.
The largest flying hill, the ‘Flying Hill of Gorišek brothers’, was completed in 1969 to the designs of brothers Lado and Janez Goriška. This hill also opened up new dimensions for the jumpers, who set 28 world records, including the first-ever flight over 200 m. The record was set on 17 March 1994 by Toni Nieminen, who became the first man in history to fly over the magic 200 meters mark. Planica thus became the cradle of a new Nordic discipline called ‘Ski Flying’.
A new milestone was also set in 2014 when Planica hosted the first-ever women’s World Cup competition.
Ski Jumping and Ski Flying are held every year. So far, only the competition during the COVID-19 epidemic has been canceled, as the World Championships were moved by 9 months from March to December 2020 and held without spectators. As a point of interest, Planica is also the venue for the last World Cup ski jumping and ski flying competition each year.
The sport of ski jumping in Planica has developed with the renovation and construction of the modern Nordic Centre. With the exception of the Flying hill of Gorišek brothers, the rest of the flying hills are covered with plastic, allowing events and training all year round. In addition to the ski jumping hills, the infrastructure for cross-country skiing has been improved, and as an attraction, a zip line with a giant hill, a wind tunnel for simulated free-fall, an underground snow-covered hall for cross-country skiing, the Alpine Museum, and a disc golf park have been built.
List of ski jumps:
- Junior ski jumping hill (HS 15, 30 and 45 meters)
- Youth ski jumping hill (HS 61 and 80 meters)
- Bloudek Giant (HS 104 and 139 meters)
- Flying hill of Gorisek brothers (HS 225 meters)