Skier Sammy Carlson pulled off what is arguably the most impressive ski jump caught on camera — flying backwards down a 24-story ramp and spinning off it through the air. As a seven-time X Games medalist and three-time Real Ski champion, Carlson knows his way around a ski jump. Northern Michigan's Copper Peak, however, is a completely different animal.
Just the numbers of Copper Peak are enough to give most skiers second thoughts: 364-foot vertical drop, 35-degree run, and previous jumps have stretched more than 500 feet. It's the largest ski jump in the Western Hemisphere. "It's our version of the Eiffel Tower," says Charlie Supercynski, president of Copper Peak, Inc. The dream that became Copper Peak originated in 1935, and then took another 35 years to build. But after all of that, it was decommissioned because of financial problems and an outdated infrastructure in 1994.
Copper Peak remained a giant, unusable metal slope for 20 years until Carlson and his team brought it back into action. He reaches nearly 60 mph before flying off the jump, which he says was being launched out of a canon. "Hitting a gap this big in general takes significant confidence and skill," said Teton Gravity Research co-founder Steve Jones. "Not to mention spinning from its lip or dropping in switch. Sammy is unbeatable when it comes to skiing like this."