Frenette Sets New Hill Record at Flaming Leaves

The two-time Olympic village of Lake Placid, New York shined like a highly polished Olympic gold medal over the weekend, deep in the Autumn season, with leaves ablaze with color. The best ski jumpers in America made their annual journey to this town for the annual Flaming Leaves Ski Jumping tournament.

This summer has proven to be a good one for 2010 U.S. Olympian Peter Frenette of USA Ski Jumping, who lives down the road from Lake Placid in Saranac Lake. With each passing month the 18-year-old, who will forgo college entrance this fall, has been picking up confidence to match his natural skiing talents. With a good crowd on hand, Frenette was extraordinary with a huge leap to set a hill record of 108 meters, surpassing the old record by a stunning four meters. Interestingly, the former record holder, was Clint Jones, one of two USASJ trainers.

One of his coaches Casey Colby told me, “This is a jump of a lifetime. The distance is absolutely unheard of. As his coach, when I heard the distance announced over the PA my first reaction was to ask if he was uninjured, because I didn’t think anyone could have landed a jump that long and do it safely,” said Colby.

For many it was no surprise that Frenette snagged yet another victory on Saturday at the Flaming Leaves competition. With a pair of jumps that included his 108-meter effort and total points of 290.0, he topped Lebanon, New Hampshire’s Nick Alexander who has been training all summer in Europe and had total points of 268.0.  Alexander, also a member of the new USASJ program for men, recorded a leap of 104 meters.

“I never expected to jump that far. I wished I could have seen Pete’s jump, but I came down about three minutes later. It was a day I will never forget,” said Alexander.

Then came three members of the U.S. Ski Team’s Nordic Combined Squad, showing strong pre-season form. Leading that group was third-place medalist Eric Camerota from Park City, Utah with strong efforts that gave him 260.0 total points. He was followed in fourth by Bryan Fletcher of Steamboat Springs, Colo. with 258.5 total points and Brett Camerota in fifth position.

Nick Fairall of Andover, New Hampshire and a member of USASJ followed in sixth, Mike Glasder, Cary, IL was seventh, while two-time USA Olympian, Anders Johnson was in eighth place.

Other notable finishes Saturday included a ninth place for local Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong, while veteran combiner and Olympic medalist Todd Lodwick finished 14th.

The top Canadian finisher on the day was Calgary’s Chanon Pretorous in 19th place.

Following the Columbus weekend event, Frenette was glowing, but was still the humble young man, given to admirable understatement.

“This weekend was a lot of fun, and being able to go so far and set a record on my home hill, was amazing,” said Frenette. “The competition was very competitive with a lot of long jumps.”

For the USASJ program, it marked a strong weekend of performances and activities. Especially after an East coast roll out of the new program Friday night attended by many coaches and officials. The weekend ended with a lively competition for young people on the K18 hill in Lake Placid, Coach Colby said it was all about the kids events.

“The USASJ athletes acted as the judges and motivational coaches for the event,” Colby said. “It was inspirational for everyone. This just shows that our USASJ athletes are great examples for the younger, aspiring athletes.”

All agreed it was a great weekend, as some amazing jumping was witnessed, a hill record was broken, and the athletes are really embracing the possibilities of what might be, come winter.

-Peter Graves



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