IN RECENT YEARS, ski jumpers have been soaring so far through the air that the term ski-flying has come into use. And this term can well be applied to a 22-year-old Austrian named Reinhold Bachler.
On March 12, 1967, Bachler shook hands with destiny. Competing against the greatest of Norwegian flyers who had gathered together on Vikersund-Bakken Hill outside Oslo, Bachler sped down the ramp at about 60 miles an hour. Then, at the bottom of the platform, Reinhold broke out of his crouch and soared into the sky for a world’s record leap of 505 feet!
The sailing maneuver necessitates the utmost confidence. The competitor must lay his body over his skis, arms at his sides, and must remain motionless. Should he turn up one of the ends of his skis, it would be just like putting the brakes on a speeding car. He must be aloof to the watching crowd,
impervious to the weather, and unaware of all of his surroundings-until his skis hit the ground.
Bachler coordinated all the elements of his jump into one smooth swirl. He landed gently, held himself from falling, and skied to a halt, after sailing more than 168 yards in mid-air-much farther than the length of a football field plus its two end-zones.
(Incidentally, 400 feet is considered a very good ski jump.)