The Geoff Henke Olympic Winter Training Centre

Sleeman Sports Complex is now home to the southern hemisphere’s first year-round ski-jumping facility!

The $6.5 million facility was delivered in collaboration with the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA), the Federal Government through Sport Australia, the Queensland Government and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).

Design Features

  • The purpose built facility is designed to simulate a snow ski ramp to help athletes train for Olympic skiing events, all year round;

  • The ramp has two different surfaces – flexible nylon brush and firm plastic brush - with inbuilt sprinklers releasing water to mimic a low-friction snow ski ramp;

  • The structure features a range of ski ramps ranging in height from 8m to 36m;

  • The ramps cater for a wide variety of Olympic winter aerial ski disciplines and experience levels - mogul, triple, double, single (intermediate), single (advanced), and mini;

  • The ramp allows athletes to reach speeds of up to 70km/h and launch up to 17m above the water, similar to speeds and heights achieved in competition;

  • The facility features a bubble aeration system which helps soften the landing for athletes to reduce potential injury;

  • The facility features a trampoline and bungee harness system to help athletes test and perfect their skills before progressing to the ramps; and

  • The facility is located close to the complex’s other facilities including the Olympic-sized pool and the Diving Australia Dry Dive facility, fitness centre and athlete rehabilitation facility, which can further assist with athlete training.

Construction
The first component of the facility- an extra-deep, Olympic-sized swimming pool adjacent to the jumps site, was constructed in 2012.

Construction on the ramps began in August 2019 and by September 2020, aerial and mogul athletes began testing the ramps.

  • The structure is 37m tall (from the pool deck to the top of the balustrade on the Triple) which is;
    • Equal to three Brisbane City Council buses stacked lengthways
    • Half as tall as Brisbane’s Story Bridge
  • The structure comprises 289 tonnes of steel
  • The structure comprises 14,744 bolts and 5,000 substrate fixings


The facility was built by Buildcorp with the program managed by Colliers International.

 

OWIA CEO Geoff Lipshut - "This is a huge step forward for athletes at the next Olympic Games in 2022 and importantly for our athletes of tomorrow. Through our partnership with Gymnastics Australia, this facility creates huge potential for gymnasts to successfully transfer their skills into aerial skiing and offers an opportunity for many more young Australians from around the country to get involved in winter sport."
 


Acting Manager of Sleeman Sports Complex Angus Macdonald - "This pool was purpose-built for this facility and while it’s wonderful that the community have had access to an additional pool in recent years, it’s great to finally see the facility up and running and watching the incredible skills of these high performance athletes and for our venue to play a small part in Australia’s push for Winter Olympic gold in 2022. As a training and development base for community, emerging and elite athletes across a wide range of sports, this sort of facility is the perfect addition to the SSC, and further establishes it as a hub for elite training."

 


OWIA Chair Geoff Henke - "This facility will continue to develop Australian freestyle skiers of all ages and abilities. At the elite level it will help to eliminate a competitive disadvantage, allowing Australian athletes to train and giving them a critical edge. It also provides a talent pathway to identify and develop talent from the grassroots up to ensure Winter Sports continue to grow."

 


Dave Morris, – Three-time Olympian and Sochi 2014 silver medallist; part of national aerial coaching team - "We’ve been kicked off facilities overseas to make way for other countries. This home facility gives us as many jumping days as we need, we can train at the right time each day, it gives us a bigger advantage than we’ve ever had."

 


Danielle Scott, PyeongChang and Sochi Olympian, World Cup gold medallist and World Championships silver medallist - "We’ve been dreaming of this for a long time. To have our own facility on home soil really means the world- we’ve been at the mercy of other countries for so long and all that money we’ve been putting overseas can be put back into Queensland. For the development of the sport in Australia this is huge."

 

Why do we need this facility?
Before construction of this facility there was only one other year-round facility, located in Belarus. A similar facility in Utah had more than 3600 days of training logged by Australian athletes from 2013-2017. The Geoff Henke Olympic Winter Training Centre will allow high performance Australian athletes to train at home rather than abroad, so time and funding will be invested in Australia rather than overseas. It also offers a unique pathway for future talent and may also provide attractive training options for international team training, giving Sleeman Sports Complex additional revenue opportunities.

Why was this location chosen?
Queensland is the perfect place for this facility, with the climate allowing year-round usage. SSC has long been a training and development base for community, emerging and high performance athletes across a wide range of sports. It has a number of complementary facilities that will assist with athlete training, such as the Olympic-sized pool and the Dry Dive facility which has suspended harness, trampolines and foam pits for rehearsing manoeuvres. The proximity to other sports, such as gymnastics and diving offers a talent discovery and development pathway option to find the next generation of jumpers. The complex also offers a range of other supporting amenities like accommodation, fitness centre, and athlete rehabilitation, which makes it an attractive option for training camps.
 
What’s our Winter Olympic legacy?
Queensland has a unique Winter Olympic heritage, with Brisbane’s Steven Bradbury famously claiming Australia’s first ever Winter Games gold at Salt Lake City in 2002. Aerial and mogul skiers have provided eight of Australia’s 15 medals in Winter Olympics, including three gold, and this facility will see Queensland as the development hub for future Olympic champions.

Who is Geoff Henke?
Geoff Henke AO is currently the Chair of the OWIA and former Vice President of the AOC a former Australian ice hockey player and Australian Olympic Committee official. He was the Chef de Mission of the Australian Winter Olympic Teams from 1976 until 1994, and is a tireless advocate for winter sports and athletes in Australia. He has passionately championed the construction of the new aerial ski training facility and we are honoured to have our state-of-the-art facility named after a legend of the sport.
 
Can the public use the facility/will there be aerial ski lessons?
The range of different jumps means it is suitable for the development of skills from beginner right through to the best in the world, however the facility is primarily for high performance programs. Other opportunities for use, such as public access, may be considered in the future. 
 
Can the public see the ramp in action?
Yes, you can watch current and future Olympians train! Visitors to the Brisbane Aquatic Centre can catch a bird’s eye view of some pretty spectacular stunts!