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Better ski glide gives precious medals

Published: 14 May 2014

Nina Lintzén is a doctoral student in Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. Her research focuses on the mechanical properties of snow and ice. Skiing is one of her major interests but also constructions of snow and ice, such as the Ice Hotel, storage of snow for cooling and artificial snow.

During this week's popular science lunch seminar at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering Nina talked about how the snow and ice is formed and its properties in different temperatures. How different types of snow crystals are formed under different weather conditions and it's crystals' shape and density that gives the different characteristics. Artificially produced snow is best suited to build with. At Icehotel natural ice with artificial snow is used in the construction of the hotel each year.

The global warming and future climate changes entails that the interest in artificial snow and ice, rising sharply at resorts in the Alps but also in the Nordic countries. Halls for indoor skiing is available at many places in the world to compensate for the shorter seasons.

Stone polishing and/or steel scraping and a plethora of waxes to be applied to the skis in different layers depending on the weather conditions have made many amateurs and professionals puzzled over the years.

- It is a lot of secrecy and large commercial interests at stake when it comes to how to wax skis at the elite level. But it's also a lot of trial and error and less of the scientific facts, says Nina Lintzén.

There are almost as many opinions and theories about this as there are skiers and Nina Lintzén calls for a better methodology to investigate what actually improves the glide under the skis.

- Now, test the forward and asking riders how it "feels", but when I tested I "feel" no difference at all sometimes. I have no sensors in my feet, says Nina Lintzén.

The Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering has a tradition of having lunch seminars where different researchers lectures about their work. This is to increase the knowledge of others' areas and, at best, be able to find synergies for collaboration between different research subjects and divisions.

Nina Lintzen

Lintzen, Nina - Associate Senior Lecturer

Organisation: Soil Mechanics, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Phone: +46 (0)920 491747
Room: T3310 - Luleå»

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