Equipment: Properties and Performance

  • David A. Lind
  • Scott P. Sanders


Although the modern ski is the result of perhaps 4000 years of evolutionary development, only in the past 50 years or so have skis, boots, bindings, and other equipment been consciously designed to operate together as a unit, and thus allow the lower leg to transmit to the ski the forces and torques necessary for precise control on steep downhill pitches. There are now dozens of different types of skis and boots designed for different types of skiing. By far the greatest number of skis and boots are produced for alpine skiing, which includes such varied types of skiing as downhill, giant slalom, slalom, and general recreation skiing. Each of these pursuits calls for skis with special features and characteristics. After alpine skiing, the general group of nordic skis designed for use on prepared tracks includes touring skis, diagonal stride skis, and freestyle skate skis. Cross-country skiers who venture off the prepared tracks may use free-heel skis, such as the telemark racing types, which are similar to some of the alpine racing models; general backcountry touring skis; or mountaineering skis designed to be used in untracked snow of any kind. Finally, consider that with very few exceptions the basic maneuvers used by snowboarders are much the same as those used by skiers, so a section of this chapter discusses the physical features of snowboard equipment.


Contact Length Torsional Stiffness Snow Surface Torsional Rigidity Swing Weight 
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  1. 1.
    For a good discussion of ski manufacture and properties, see B. Glenne, “Mechanics of Skis,” in The Handbook of Snow, edited by D. M. Gray and D. H. Male (Pergamon, Toronto, 1981); see also The Ski Handbook (K2 Corporation, a division of Anthony Industries, Vashon, WA, 1991), which offers information about ski manufacturing that is not otherwise readily available.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See R. L. Pizialli and C. D. Mote Jr., “The Snow Ski as a Dynamic System,” J. Dynamic Syst. Meas. Control, Trans. ASME 94, 133 (1972).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a discussion of the physics of snowboarding, see D. B. Swinson, “Physics and Snowboarding,” Phys. Teacher 32, 530–534 (1994).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 3a.
    For a less technical discussion of snowboarding, see R. Reichenfeld and A. Bruechert, Snow Boarding (Outdoor Pursuits Series, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, IL, 1995).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Lind
    • 1
  • Scott P. Sanders
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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