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Jumpers compete at Harris Hill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Jumpers compete at Harris Hill

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. -

Some of the world's best ski jumpers took to the skies in Brattleboro Saturday. For one local competitor it was chance to perform in front of friends and family. 

In Brattleboro Saturday, jumpers reach speeds of 60 mph before takeoff and then flew some 300-plus feet before touching down again safely at the bottom of Harris Hill.

Competitors hailed from all over the world -- including Brattleboro.

"We spend so much time traveling around the world with people that are total strangers, so to be in my backyard basically and staying in my own bed all week is a treat," said Spencer Knickerbocker, 20. "I'm really excited to be here and jump in front of the hometown, it's the biggest competition we have in terms of spectators."

For Knickerbocker it's a chance to compete in front of those who watched him grow up. For Vermonters and fans from all over New England, it's a chance to see the best in the world bend the rules of physics.

"This is the 2nd time I've been here. It's exciting, I'm waiting to see the skiers and how they do," said Joseph Meina, 12, of Brattleboro.

"It's the original extreme sport and to have it right here in the middle of town is just phenomenal," said Tom Nunziata, a long-time fan of the sport.

The jump first opened in 1922 but last year marked Harris Hill's first international competition. In 2009, the then failing jump had to be shut down. "We really missed it," Nunziata said.

Volunteers raised $350,000 and in three years had created a new jump that meets international competition standards.

Reporter Kyle Midura: Ever thought of getting out there yourself...

Tom Nunziata: Nope, it's strictly a spectator sport.

"The height -- like how high you are -- is insane," said Joseph Meina, another spectator.

For now, fans new and old are content to watch at the bottom.

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