The Physics of Skiing (book review) Subscribe Pub

The Physics of Skiing - Skiing at the Triple Point, 2004, David Lind & Scott Sanders

Great read for the skiing passionate - some insight into why some movements and tactics are more efficient than others… and well, why skiis… ski :)

After a quick history of skiing, they jump right into the structure of snow. Yes, we ski on a film of water formed under the base of the ski, but if you want to get some mental pictures of the different ways this occurs at different temperatures and snow conditions, this is the most detailed analysis of snow I have seen yet.

The equipment gets a thorough analysis, from ski structure (to dampen vibrations and give them just the right stiffness) to boots. It was interesting to see the diagrams of how stiffness is affecting the pressure distribution along the skis: stiff skis put more pressure on tip and tail, making carving easier..., yeah, race skis are da best!

Did you know why angulation is a lot better with coiling? You'll find out why soon-enough. Also, why beginners are bending too much at the hip to control balance? It's because they have not discovered coiling.

Pre-jumping techniques get their own sections and why tucking on a roll will reduce the airborne distance and also, why pumping the bottom of a roll increases speed, are all explained with plenty of sinuses and cosinuses…

In-depth analysis of turn shapes, nordic and adventure skiing, as well as friction and waxing add to the subjects discussed.


The analysis of injuries (typically ACL) is enlightening and I'll spend more time here. Some people are more prone than others to ACL injuries. The way to test yours: get the boots on and lock the bindings, then try to sit on the back of the skis. If you can actually sit on the tails of the skis without undue discomfort in the knees, you are less likely to suffer ACL injuries.

The others, can mitigate the risk by a selection of boots (with more "give") or improving their flexibility and musculature AND by simply being aware of the mechanics of ACL injuries and ski carefully.

ACL injuries often occur in backward falls, when the skiers' hips are low and even more so, when the skier tries to recover from a backward fall. So - when you're so far back that you'll most likely fall, you may want to just bail sideways instead of trying to save the turn...

The ACL is subject to stretching and it is also commonly injured when the ski and the lower leg and knee twists to point inward, such as trying to stop using the snowplow maneuver. It can thus be argued that teaching wedges and snowplows to beginners is directly responsible for most ACL injuries. Beginners should learn to stop only using a sideways skid: the "hockey stop".

The book is again, worth reading for skiing aficionados, will give you a more thorough understanding of many aspects of skiing.

See more reviews here: Razie Ski Books Reviews.

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By: Razie | 2013-05-03 .. 2022-05-06 | Tags: post , review , book , biomechanics

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