World records in Planica – The snow queen and the symbol of Slovenia

Published: 8.1.2021

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World records in Planica – The snow queen and the symbol of Slovenia

Read about Planica, the Alpine valley below the Ponce Mountains that has been known for some of the most spectacular ski jumps that made history.

World records in Planica – The snow queen and the symbol of Slovenia

Planica, the Alpine valley below the Ponce Mountains, which won a bid to host the Nordic Ski World Championship in 2023, is famous for its exceptional tradition and a unique atmosphere created by thousands of fans coming from all over Europe. Less than a month ago, between 10 and 13 December, the FIS Ski Flying World Championship took place in Planica. Slovenian Eagles proved that they are still one of the top teams. The ski flying champion of Planica 2020 was a German jumper Karl Geiger. The organizers and Slovenia are proud to successfully run the “competition in a bubble”, a sporting event with special care, strict anti-pandemic measures and isolation for ski jumpers and their teams. Planica earned once again respect and admiration of the entire ski world.

From the first flying hill to the Bloudek Giant

Planica got its first ski flying hill around the year 1930 and very soon afterwards, the idea of a bigger venue with facilities, suitable for larger competitions, came to life. Bloudek Giant jumping hill was built, named after Stanko Bloudek, a pioneer of many sports in Slovenia. The Planica hill became the biggest one in the world in the 1930s and 1940s. A total of 10 world records were set here at the time.

The world records and the glory of Planica

Norwegian Birger Ruud set the first world record (92 m) in 1934. This was a major turning point in the history of ski jumping, and Planica went down in history. Austrian Sepp Bradl became the first man to fly over 100 meters in 1936, and Swiss Fritz Tschanen became a hero in 1948 with the new record in Planica (120 meters). Two years later, Bloudek Giant collapsed and, despite renovation, Planica no longer allowed significant increases in the height of the hill. After that, Planica waited for a new record for 21 long years. The Gorišek brothers, who took over Bloudek's legacy, focused on building a new ski jumping hill that would restore Planica's former glory. They designed it in such a way that they could make it bigger, if necessary, without much difficulty. It allowed ski jumpers to fly over 160 meters. In March 1969, spectators in Planica experienced a lot of unforgettable ski jumps, as the world record was improved five times. Norwegian Björn Wirkola (156 m and 160 m), Czechoslovakian Jiri Raška (156 m and 164 m) and German Manfred Wolf (165 m) redirected Planica to the path of the old glory.

Historic wins in the valley under Ponce

In 1994, the Finnish wonder boy Toni Nieminen was the first to fly over 200 meters. The greatest success of Slovenian ski jumping was achieved by Primož Peterka when he became the first Slovene to win the crystal globe. Since 1999, the final competitions of the season in ski flying have been held in Planica every year at the end of March, and the following year the popular Austrian Andreas Goldberger flew up to 225 meters. Robert Kranjec set the Slovenian record with a 222.5 m long flight on skis. The 2003 World Cup final was marked by Finn Matti Hautamäki, who broke the record three times and eventually landed at 231 meters. Slovenian Eagles completely dominated in 2015, when Peter Prevc won and broke the record with an incredible 245.8 m long jump. That year, Jurij Tepeš got the second place and the Slovene team won the team competition. 

2016: a spectacular year for Planica

In March 2016, the four-day World Cup final was like a dream for the Slovenian Eagles, who conquered the podium every day. Peter Prevc was unbeatable that season and lifted a large crystal globe as the winner of the World Cup and a small crystal globe. Peter achieved a record of 15 wins in one season and was standing on the winning podium altogether 22 times. In total, he collected 2303 points in one season. Planica united all Slovenians in 2016 even stronger and the Slovenian flags in the sky were raised as far as the eye can see. A giant mass of 111,000 spectators created a glorious Planica atmosphere.

The records in Planica today

2019 was marked by Ryoyu Kobayashi, who became the overall winner of the World Cup. He was in great shape all season and kept it until the finals in Planica. On the last day of the competitions, he jumped 252 m in the first series and set a record for the Planica airfield, which is still valid today in Planica. A season that went down in history forever is now waiting for its successor.

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