Erich Windisch, 89; ski jumper pioneered the arms-down style

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Erich Windisch, 89, the ski jumper credited with revolutionizing the sport by creating the arms-down style that is standard today, died of cancer Feb. 14 at a hospital in Vail, Colo.

A native of Schoneck, Germany, he served as an officer in the Germany army on the Russian front during World War II.

After the war, Windisch was a member of Germany’s national ski-jumping team, winning several national and divisional championships. His best jump was 337 feet.


He accidentally discovered the arms-down style after dislocating his shoulder in 1949 at a competition in Germany. The injury kept him from jumping with his arms in front of him, as was common in that era. Other ski jumpers noted his style was more aerodynamic and began copying him.

Windisch later taught skiing in Colorado and New Mexico. A member of the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, he taught skiing at Vail for 39 years, until November.