Abstract We propose a new method, based on inertial sensors, to automatically measure at high frequency the durations of the main phases of ski jumping (i.e. take-off release, take-off, and early flight). The kinematics of the ski jumping movement were recorded by four inertial sensors, attached to the thigh and shank of junior athletes, for 40 jumps performed during indoor conditions and 36 jumps in field conditions. An algorithm was designed to detect temporal events from the recorded signals and to estimate the duration of each phase. These durations were evaluated against a reference camera-based motion capture system and by trainers conducting video observations. The precision for the take-off release and take-off durations (indoor <39 ms, outdoor = 27 ms) can be considered technically valid for performance assessment. The errors for early flight duration (indoor = 22 ms, outdoor = 119 ms) were comparable to the trainers' variability and should be interpreted with caution. No significant changes in the error were noted between indoor and outdoor conditions, and individual jumping technique did not influence the error of take-off release and take-off. Therefore, the proposed system can provide valuable information for performance evaluation of ski jumpers during training sessions.