High-Performance Skiing

  • David A. Lind
  • Scott P. Sanders


The term high-performance skiing commonly refers to ski racing, speed skiing, acrobatic skiing, ski jumping, and extreme skiing, usually in association with organized, high-level competition. In this chapter we will look at a few issues related to high-performance, competitive skiing that should, nevertheless, prove interesting to recreational skiers. For example, any factor that decreases velocity, as aerodynamic drag does, is crucially important for the high-performance racer or speed skier. Although aerodynamic drag is usually not an especially important issue for recreational skiers, it affects the recreational skier in the same manner that it affects a racer or speed skier. For that reason, all skiers may achieve some greater understanding of their performance—whether it be high, medium, or low—by understanding something about the way aerodynamic drag affects a skier, which is the first high-performance skiing issue we will consider.


Inverted Pendulum Aerodynamic Drag Snow Surface Drag Factor Velo City 
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  1. 1.
    For discussion of the tests sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee, see M. S. Holden, “The Aerodynamics of Skiing, Technology of Winning,” in Sci. Am. 258(2), T4 (1988)Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    the Canadian National Ski Team studies are reported by A. E. Raine, “Aerodynamics of Skiing,” Sci. J. 6(3), 26 (1970).ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. 2.
    See G. Reinisch, “A Physical Theory of Alpine Ski Racing,” Spektrum Sportwissenschaft 1, 27 (1991).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Reinisch, cited in Ref. 2, uses the “Going-Straight-Turning-Short” terminology and discusses the maneuver at some length in both qualitative and quantitative terms. See also G. Twardokens, Universal Ski Techniques (Surprisingly Well, Reno, NV, 1992), who also uses this terminology and offers an interesting qualitative discussion.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    Much of the discussion that follows here and in Technote 11 comes from J. M. Morawski’s analysis of the skier as an inverted pendulum in his article, “Control Systems Approach to a Ski-Turn Analysis,” J. Biomech. 6, 267 (1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    See, for example, D. K. Lieu and C. D. Mote, Jr., “Mechanics of the Turning Snow Ski,” in Skiing Trauma and Safety: Fifth International Symposium, ASTM STP 860, 117 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 5a.
    A. A. Renshaw and C. D. Mote, Jr., “A Model for the Turning Snow Ski,” in Skiing Trauma and Safety: Eighth International Symposium, ASTM STP 1104, 217 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 6.
    See B. Glenne and O. Larsson, “Mechanics of a Giant Slalom Turn,” in The Professional Skier (Professional Ski Instructors of America, Lakewood, CO, 1987), Winter Vol. 3, pp. 23–26.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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