Physics of Skiing: The Ideal-Carving Equation and Its Applications


Ideal carving occurs when a snowboarder or skier, equipped with a snowboard or carving skis, describes a perfectly carved turn in which the edges of the ski alone, not the ski surface, describe the trajectory followed by the skier, without any slipping or skidding. In this article, we derive the "ideal-carving" equation that describes the physics of a carved turn under ideal conditions. The laws of Newtonian classical mechanics are applied. The parameters of the ideal-carving equation are the inclination of the ski slope, the acceleration of gravity, and the sidecut radius of the ski. The variables of the ideal-carving equation are the velocity of the skier, the angle between the trajectory of the skier and the horizontal, and the instantaneous curvature radius of the skier's trajectory. Relations between the slope inclination and the velocity range suited for nearly ideal carving are discussed, as well as implications for the design of carving skis and snowboards.



Keywords and Phrases

Acceleration Measurement; Avalanches (Snowslides); Edge Detection; Gravitation; Parameter Estimation; Ski Jumps; Velocity Measurement; Ideal-carving Equation; Slope Inclination; Snowboards; Steering Angle; Kinematics

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Article - Journal

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© 2004 National Research Council of Canada, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2004