Jumping Towards the Future

Understanding the Remains of Ski Jumping Towers in Southern and Central Sweden


  • Magnus O. Ljunge Stockholm University




archaeology of modernity, archaeology of sports, material heritage of sport, modern monuments, ski jumping


Between the late nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century numerous ski-jumping towers were built all across Sweden. This accumulation of large, monumental sporting facilities occurred even though ski jumping never attracted large numbers of practitioners. The building of such towers in the southern and central parts of Sweden, where snowy winters are far from guaranteed, is of particular interest. Today, most of the ski-jumping towers in the southern half of Sweden have been torn down, but they have left a hidden and forgotten material heritage. This paper examines the abandoned places of ski jumping, where fragmented material remains give witness to a phenomenon that once was of central importance in shaping and expressing ideals and social identities in the modernization of Sweden. The ski jumps became arenas for a new and spectacular sport that drew large crowds, but they also became landmarks and monuments of progress and prosperity in the new modern age.

Author Biography

  • Magnus O. Ljunge, Stockholm University

    Magnus O. Ljunge Phd is a researcher at Stockholm University. His research interests span from Bronze Age visual culture to Iron Age burial practices and the material heritage of the contemporary past. Address for correspondence: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, Wallenberglaboratoriet, Lilla Frescativägen 7, 114 18 Stockholm, Sweden. 


Amundsen, V. 1938. “Backhoppning på skidor- historik.” Nordisk Familjeboks Sportlexikon (1st edition), 496–501. Stockholm: Sohlman & Co.

Ashburner, T. 2003. The History of Ski Jumping. London: Quiller. https://doi.org/10.5359/jawe.2003.97_43

Beskow, K. E. and O. Rimfors. 1938. “Länsförbundens verksamhet 1937-1937.” Svensk Skidkalender 1938, 123–133. Stockholm: Föreningen för skidlöpningens främjande i Sverige.

Bradley, R. 1998. The Significance of Monuments: On the Shaping of Human Experience in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe. London: Routledge.

Burström, M. 2012. Minnesgömmor. Berättelser om föremål gömda i jorden i Estland under andra världskriget. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.

Edensor, T. 2005. Industrial Ruins: Spaces, Aesthetics, and Materiality. Oxford: Berg. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781474214940

Golofast, V. 2003. “Three Dimensions of Biographical Narratives.” In Biographical Research in Eastern Europe, edited by R. Humphrey, R. Miller and E. Zdravomyslova, 53–67. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

González-Ruibal, A. 2005. “The Need for a Decaying Past: An Archaeology of Oblivion in Galicia (NW Spain).” Home Cultures 2 (2): 129–155. https://doi.org/10.2752/174063105778053355

____. 2013. “Embracing Destruction.” In Destruction: Archaeological Philological and Historical Perspectives, edited by J. Driessen, 37–51. Louvain: Presses Universitaires de Louvain.

____. 2014. “Returning to Where we Have Never Been: Excavating the Ruins of Modernity.” In Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past, edited by B. Olsen and Þ. Pétursdóttir, 367–390. London: Routledge.

Gosden, C. and Y. Marshall. 1999. “The Cultural Biography of Objects.” World Archaeology 31 (2): 169–178. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.1999.9980439

Grant, J. 2014. Class, Race, and Sport in South Africa’s Political Economy. London: Routledge.

Hasselblad, B. and M. Eriksson. 1982. Djurgårdsvandringar. Villor och andra sevärdheter på Södra och Norra Djurgården: en introduktion till Kungl. Djurgården. Stockholm: Kungl. Djurgårdens Förvaltning.

Henning, U. 1962. “Hoppbackar.” Byggmästaren 1962 (2): 25–35. https://doi.org/10.1525/as.1962.2.7.01p1573m

Horne, J., A. Tomlinson and G. Whannel. 1999. Understanding Sport: An introduction to the Sociological and Cultural Analysis of Sport. London: Routledge.

Ingham, A. and J. W. Loy, eds. 1993. Sport in Social Development: Traditions, Transitions, and Transformations. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Jelin, T. 2006. “Huddinges eget skidstadion.” Vårt Huddinge 2006 (2): 1–2.

Jonsson, A. 1984. ”Värmländsk skidsport.” In Idrott i Värmland, edited by. H. Kruse and B. Hedstrand, 121–126. Karlstad: Värmlands mus. och Värmlands fornminnes- och museiförening,.

Jørgensen, C. and M. Pedersen, M. 2014. Industrial Heritage in Denmark: Landscape, Environments and Historical Archaeology. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Karlsson, H. 2004. Försummat kulturarv: Det närliggande förflutna och fotbollens platser. Ranered: Bricolour Press.

Larsson, B. 2002. Hindåsbygden i tid och rum. Borås: Hajom.

Ljunge, M. 2017. ”Hoppets lämningar: arvet efter den svenska backhoppningens tidiga monumentalisering.” Finskt Museum 124: 28–49.

____. 2019. ”Backhoppningens monumentalisering.” Blå boken 2019, 150–169. Stockholm: Sveriges Centralförening för Idrottens Främjande.

Lucas, G. 2005. The Archaeology of Time. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203004920

____. 2013. “Ruins.” In The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World, edited by P. Graves-Brown, R. Harrison and A. Piccini, 192–203. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199602001.013.035

Mossberg, R. 1928. Bidrag till kännedom om skidhoppets mekanik och reglerna för skidbackars formgivning. Medd. från Svenska Skidförbundet. Stockholm: Svenska Skidförbundets Förlag.

Myrberg Burström, N. 2014. “Things in the Eye of the Beholder: A Humanistic Perspective on Archaeological Object Biographies.” Norwegian Archaeological Review 47 (1): 65–82. https://doi.org/10.1080/00293652.2014.909877

Nybelius, M. S. and A. Hofmann, eds. 2015. License to Jump! A Story of Women’s Ski Jumping. Spånga: Bejbom Books.

O’Boyle, S. 2010. Modern Ruins: Portraits of Place in the Mid-Atlantic Region. University Park: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Olivier, L. 2004. “The Past of the Present: Archaeological Memory and Time.” Archaeological Dialogues 10 (2): 204–213. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1380203804001254

____. 2011. The Dark Abyss of Time: Archaeology and Memory. Lanham, MD: Altamira Press.

Olsen, B. 2013. “Reclaiming Things: An Archaeology of Matter.” In How Matter Matters: Objects, Artifacts, and Materiality in Organization Studies, edited by P. R. Carlie, D. Nicolini, A. Langley and H. Tsoukas, 171–196. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199671533.003.0008

Olsson, U. 1999. Drömmen om den hälsosamma medborgaren: folkuppfostran och hälsoupplysning i folkhemmet. Stockholm: Carlsson förlag.

Pétursdóttir, Þ. 2014. “Things Out-of-Hand: The Aesthetics of Abandonment.” In Ruin Memories: Materialities, Aesthetics and the Archaeology of the Recent Past, edited B. Olsen and Þ. Pétursdóttir, 335–364. London: Routledge.

____. 2016. “For Love of Ruins.” In Elements of Architecture: Assembling Archaeology, Atmosphere and the Performance of Building Spaces, edited by T. Flohr Sørensen and M. Bille, 365–386. London: Routledge.

Ramshaw, G. and S. Gammon. 2015. “Heritage and Sports” In The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Heritage Research, edited by E. Waterton and S. Watson, 248–260. London: Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137293565_16

Schofield, J. 2012. “The Archaeology of Sport and Pastimes.” World Archaeology 44 (2): 171–174. https://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2012.669603

Strandman, B. 1970. Bygga och bo i Satsjöbaden på 1890-talet. Salsjöbaden: Kulturnämnden.

Svenska Skidförbundet 1933. Skidbackar och deras byggande. Stockholm: Svenska Skidförbundets Förlag.

Thullberg, P. and K. Östberg, eds. 1994. Den svenska modellen. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Tännsjö, T. and C. M. Tamburrini, eds. 2000. Values in Sport: Elitism, Nationalism, Gender Equality and the Scientific Manufacture of Winners. London: Taylor and Francis.

Van der Schriek, M. 2019. “Landscape Biographies of Commemoration.” Landscape Research 44 (1): 99–111. https://doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2018.1427710






How to Cite

Ljunge, M. O. (2021). Jumping Towards the Future: Understanding the Remains of Ski Jumping Towers in Southern and Central Sweden. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 8(1), 112–137. https://doi.org/10.1558/jca.42064