Ski hill design pioneer Gorisek dies at 89
March 22, 2023 09:03 AM
Slovenian engineer and ski flying pioneer Janez Gorisek, who co-designed record setting hills in Norway, Austria and Slovenia, died at the age of 89, his family said Tuesday.
Gorisek died after suffering "a sudden illness," his son Sebastjan Gorisek told AFP.
Gorisek along with his elder brother Vlado were tasked in 1969 with designing a hill at Slovenia's Alpine valley Planica, setting the stage for ski jumpers to soar more than 250 metres (820 feet).
Continuously updated, the monster hill allowed daredevil competitors to soar so far that it became a separate discipline called "ski flying".
"When I took over (at Planica) the limit for jumps was at 150 metres. I said, let's go for 200. When we reached 200, I said let's go for 250," Gorisek told AFP in an interview in 2017 proudly smiling in front of his "baby".
Gorisek started his ski jumping career when he was eight and joined the national selection of former Yugoslavia, of which Slovenia was a part at the time, twice becoming the students' world champion in the 1950s.
His longest jump at the time was 105 metres.
Aside from his sports career, Gorisek graduated as a construction engineer in 1961 and joined his brother in designing ski jumping hills.
The design employed at Planica has also been incorporated at hills all over Europe, including at Vikersund in Norway, Oberstdorf in Germany and Kulm in Austria.