In his sport.de column, Karl Geiger looks back on a celebration that takes place regularly, but at the same time is unique and something of the secret highlight of every World Cup season.
“Would you like a burger or would you prefer cheese raclette? There are also fish and liver patties!”
What is not on any menu in the world is what Franzi and I have to choose from after the team flight in Planica. After a long season with the Four Hills Tournament in Austria and Germany, the World Championships in Slovenia and the Norwegian Raw Air Tour, the ski jumpers have come to the end of the season.
The World Cup Express toured Europe for a long five months. The batteries are empty, the wish for vacation is on everyone’s face. Ski flying at spring-like temperatures in the valley of the hills is always a worthy end to the season. A special highlight is the legendary Springer Party, where the nations prepare national dishes in front of their ski and wax container and offer them to the jumpers from other countries.
From a culinary point of view, there is a variety that is unique, and Franzi, who came with us to Planica, and I have trouble and the agony of choice to put together our personal Springer party menu. While we quickly agree on the dessert, namely that neither Norwegian waffles nor Austrian apricot dumplings should be left out, and that everything should be topped with Turkish schnapps at the end, the main course gives us a bad headache.
The Finnish fish looks absolutely delicious, but the Japanese stir-fried noodles with stir-fried vegetables are tempting too. The Poles offer cabbage with different types of meat and the Swiss raclette cheese is in the air above all containers. We decide to have a “small bite” at each stand and hope that the Slovenian slivovitz will relieve our gluttony.
In addition to the food, it is the informal interaction between the jumpers of all nations that makes the container happening a real experience. No quiet tension in the jumping tower just before the end, but good conversations everywhere, during which you can of course review one or the other sporting experience; but you also learn private things beyond the hill. Who goes on which holiday, what are the family circumstances like at home, what hobbies do the ski jumpers pursue when they don’t let themselves be waved off the ski jumps.
Franzi and I stroll from container to container, enjoy the food and the conversations; We also look back on the season, which was so completely different from the previous ones, in which I kept struggling with the consistency of my jumps, but which also held forgiving moments and highlights for me, such as winning the individual medal the World Championships in Planica or team gold.
Three weeks of vacation are coming up. After that, the focus is on the things that need to be worked on. You will then hear from me again.