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Jumpers take to the hill at the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

BRATTLEBORO — The Harris Hill Junior Jumping Program has reached an agreement with Vermont Academy in Saxtons River that will allow the members of the program to practice on their jumps.

Vermont Academy has three ski jumps of 10-, 20-, and 35-meters. Currently, the members of the Harris Hill Junior Jumping Program practice twice a week at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro on jumps of 10- and 18-meters.

Having a third jump of greater size is something that the operator of the program, coach Todd Einig, said is important.

“For all intents and purposes, it presents the next level progression to a bigger hill,” said Einig. “We don’t have a jump in between size 18-meter at Living Memorial Park and Harris Hill in Brattleboro (90-meter). So, it’s a nicer opportunity for those kids moving up to the next level.”

Ford Sayre Ski Club in Hanover, N.H. is the nearest location that has a jump about the same size at 32-meters, Einig said.

Having an arrangement in place to practice at Vermont Academy does not mean that members of the Harris Hill Junior Jumping Program will not be practicing at Living Memorial Park anymore though. Einig said that the members of the program will primarily be practicing at Living Memorial Park with training sessions taking place at Vermont Academy.

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“It’s going to enable them to get a lot of jumps in on a larger sized hill,” said Einig. “Some of the kids on the team have jumped larger hills than that, but coming back to that size hill and having a lot of repetitions on that size hill is going to help them develop their technique better. As they move around the region to other competitions at larger hills they’ll be more acclimated to that size hill.”

Kyle Chivers, a member of the maintenance department of Vermont Academy, which is partly responsible for maintaining the jumps, said that the agreement for the Harris Hill Junior Jumping Program to use the jumps had been in place since the beginning of the season, but due to weather conditions this season they were unable to have a practice until last Tuesday.

Vermont Academy does have a snowmaking gun to produce snow for the jumps, but the weather conditions this year prevented them from making large quantities of snow and what they were able to make did not remain for a long period of time.

Vermont Academy currently does not have a ski jumping program. There had been a program for many years, but Chivers said the school has not been able to consistently offer a ski jumping program since 2003.

Chivers said he, Head of School Jennifer Zaccara, and others would like to see changed the program revitalized and Chivers said having the Harris Hill Junior Jumping Program using the hills would be an important step. It not only causes the maintenance department to prioritize the upkeep of the jumps, something he said has not been a priority since they last had a program, but it could also help generate interest among the students at Vermont Academy.

“Ultimately, we want to bring jumping back to Vermont Academy because we have the ski hills here,” said Chivers. “We’re one of the only schools around that has that series of jumps available and my family, and I know Jennifer, and some other people would like to see them utilized again.”