Why ski jumpers hold their skis in a V shape

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Ski Jumping

Ski jumpers hold their skies in a V shape to maximise air lift once they leave the take-off ramp.
By remaining in the air for a longer period of time, skiers can improve their jump distances.
Swedish jumper Jan Bokloev first introduced the V Style in 1985, but it wasn’t embraced by all Olympic medalists until 1992.
The V style also helps slow the jumper down on landing because it producers more drag at the later phase of the jump.

In ski jumping, it’s all about how far you fly.

Skiers initially hold their bodies in a position that reduces air drag in order to gain as much speed as possible coming down the take-off ramp, or in-run. But once in the air, athletes change their posture and the position of their skis to maximize air lift, which increases the length of their jump.

Ski jumpers used to hold their skis parallel to each other, but learned that they could catch more of the air pushing up underneath them if they separated their skis, with the tails pointing toward each other. This V shape has been the standard style since the 1990s.

“Skiers are trying to play glider,” Louis Bloomfield, a physicist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, told Inside Science back in 2010. “You push the air down, the air pushes back, pushes you upward.”

Ski jumping techniques have changed dramatically over the last 200 years, but all Olympic medalists use the V Style today.

A Brief History

In the beginning, skiers used an “upright style.” Skiers stood straight up during the jump and “would sail down the hill upright,” Wayne Johnson writes in his book “White Heat: The Extreme Skiing Life.” In 1860, Norwegian Sondre Norheim, widely-known as the father of ski jumping, set the world distance record at 99 feet using this method.

The Kongsberger technique, developed by Norwegians Jacob Thulin Thams and Sigmund Ruud, replaced the upright style after World War I. The skier’s upper body is bent at the hips with an extreme forward lean, the arms are extended in front (as if the athlete is diving over his or her skis), and the skis are parallel to each other. The technique improved the jumping distance from around 150 feet to more than 300 feet.

The next big improvement came in the mid-1950s from Andreas Daescher of Switzerland. In the Daescher style the arms were placed backward next to the body. The skis were still parallel. This held on as the standard in ski jumping for at least three decades.

Changing The Game

The turning point came in 1985 when Swedish jumper Jan Bokloev introduced the “V Style.” The skis are placed in a “V” shape, rather than parallel, and the head is placed down between the skis. The modification led to greater jumping distances. It also enabled the skier to land at a safer speed, reducing the chances of injury.

According to Johnson, wind tunnel tests showed that the V Style improved air lift by 28%, meaning the jumper can remain …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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