1,600 Racers Scramble Up Ski Jumping Hill in Sapporo; Grueling Course Features Maximum Angle of 37 Degrees

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Race participants ascend a ski jumping hill at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium in Sapporo on Saturday.

SAPPORO — More than 1,600 people took part in what has been called “the world’s most grueling 400-meter race,” clambering up a ski jumping hill in Sapporo.

Now in its seventh year, the annual race took place at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium on Saturday. The course starts at the base of the ski jumping hill and ends at a starting gate about 130 meters higher.

The maximum angle of the slope is 37 degrees, and the racers held on to nets and other safety features installed to prevent their falling.

There are men’s and women’s individual events, as well as a four-person relay. This year, 1,644 people participated overall.

A 29-year-old cross-country skier from Sapporo achieved his fourth consecutive victory in the men’s individual category. The women’s individual category was won by a 44-year-old company employee from Sapporo – it was her first victory in three years and her second win overall.