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As the name suggests, Speed Skiing is all about Speed. It is the winter sport of fast Skiing in a straight line Downhill. It is likewise considered as the fastest non-motorized sport in the world. In this section, we will look at the things you need to know about Speed Skiing:
Speed Skiing From the very beginning of Skiing, people were obsessed with speed that can be reached by Skiing downhill and using gravity to propel you as fast as possible. Some people took the speed element and focused their Skiing technique and aspirations on Skiing as fast as they can.
In 1930, the Speed Skiing record was set at 105, 7 km/hour. The latest speed record was set by Harry Egger in 1999 with an astounding speed of 248, 1 km/hr. You can imagine what kinds of kicks (and dangers) are related to Skiing with such speed!
During the later part of 1950s, Speed Skiing was organized at Monte Rosa glacier which borders Switzerland and Italy. At 12000 feet, enthusiasts of this Skiing Discipline throw themselves in the air under Matterhorn and with a 62� maximum gradient. Two decades later, a benchmark of 120mph had been passed.
In the 1980s, Speed Skiing became accessible to all enthusiasts of speed. In fact, as long as regulations are followed, courses for Speed Skiing can be set up at any place. Some of these parameters indicate that courses should be Off piste and high speeds can be reached on less than 45� gradient. Sensibly enough, a great set up for Speed Skiing is useless if the skiers are not technically and physically ready. Aside from Skiing ability, you need to have Skis which are 8 feet long. Likewise, it is essential to have the ability of getting into a low tuck, keeping it that way no matter what the wind speed is, and coming to a safe Snow plough stop.
In 1992, Speed Skiing became a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics held at Albertville.
Speed Skiing Tracks
Speed Skiing is not performed on normal pistes. It is done on special runs or steep courses which are all one kilometer in length. The first 400 meters are used to gain speed, the top speed is measured in the next 100 meters and about 500 meters are used for slowing down and coming to a stop. Speed Skiing tracks are not very common. There are approximately thirty of them around the world.
Speed Skiing Equipment and Apparel
Speed Skiing uses very specific high-tech equipment that is totally focused on increasing the speed that can be reached. Here are some features of Speed Skiing equipment and apparel:
The Skis are 240 cm in length and specifically built for Speed Skiing.
The Ski Bindings and Ski Boots are specifically made for Speed Skiing allowing DIN 21. The Ski Bindings must be well cranked up in order to handle vibration.
The Ski Poles are bent in such a way that they form around the body and they have up to 2 lbs of weight and a minimum length of 1 mater.
The Ski suits are made of air tight latex which prevents the skier from being blown up as his suit fills with air under enormous speed. A Ski suit can also have a polyurethane covering in order to reduce wind resistance.
Non-flammable pads are used to protect the skier from burning when he crashes in high speed.
The helmets are aerodynamically designed in the shape of a water drop to minimize resistance and increase streamlining.
Special spoilers are attached to the lower legs to dampen turbulence and minimize resistance.