A Granite State ski jump sweep
U.S. Ski Jumping coach Clint Jones said it was only a matter of time before Nick Fairall hit his stride.
“His consistency level has been up and down, but he certainly had two good runs over the weekend,” said Jones of Fairall, of Andover, who topped Lebanon’s Nick Alexander and Andover’s Chris Lamb for his first U.S. Ski Jumping Large Hill Championship title Sunday on a snowless hill in Park City, Utah.
Fairall’s winning total of 260.6 points bested Alexander (242.1) and Lamb (218.1).
“It was pretty neat to share the podium with them,” said Fairall, who returned to New Hampshire Monday to celebrate his win with family and friends.
“I started ski jumping with Chris when we were 6 years old and Nicholas joined us when we were 10,” said Fairall.
“We’ve trained and pushed each other for years and we even car pool to events close to home like to Lake Placid. So to win the U.S. title and share the moment with them was special.”
Fairall said he and Lamb originally trained under coach Tim Norris through the Andover Outing Club. They trained at Blackwater Ski Area, which is owned by Proctor Academy in Andover.
Alexander, trained at the Lebanon Outing Club, and Lamb graduated from the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Fairall, a graduate of Proctor Academy, said winning the U.S. title is hopefully a big step forward to his ultimate goal.
“The Olympics is my ultimate goal and this win definitely gives me confidence moving forward,” said Fairall, who will resume his ski jumps in Europe next week. He will compete in France and Switzerland before making a trip to Japan for another summer grand prix ski jumping event.
“I go out and try to win every event, but I also have the Olympics on my mind,” Fairall said. “We’re all preparing for the winter and it starts now with these summer events.”
Fairall and his teammates will return to Park City, Utah for the Olympic Trials on Dec. 28-29.
Jones said while winning the U.S. title is an important accomplishment, he said the goal of each of his jumpers is to compete well on the international level.
Jones called Alexander’s second place finish “definitely solid for him. It certainly didn’t surprise me. He’s been skiing at a high level and working to stay relaxed under pressure. Recently Chris was living in Norway to train there and its paid off. As a team we’re building momentum and establishing an identity. It just so happens we have a solid group from New Hampshire leading the way.”