Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2008)
A Novel Anti-Slip Pad for Improving Steering when Exiting a Ski Lift on a Snowboard
While using ski lifts, snowboarders take the rear foot out of the binding. Therefore, steering abilities of the board are reduced, which leads to falls, potentially followed by injuries. In the past, several kinds of anti-slip pads have been introduced to provide friction between the board and the boot of the free foot. The purpose of this study was to check the usability of a novel anti-slip pad, consisting of a commonly used rubber footprint and an additional rim providing vertical grip for the frontal toes. The optimal position of the rim, with respect to maximizing the connection between the free foot and snowboard while minimizing the dexterity required to properly place the free foot into the anti-slip position, was not known. Hence, three different rim positions were evaluated based on the user opinion of which pad provided better steering abilities. Forty snowboarders assigned to three different levels, i.e., beginner, advanced, and expert, were asked to perform a series of pairwise comparisons between three prototype anti-slip pads (each with a different rim position) and an anti-slip pad with no rim for both frontside and backside turns. They performed a pairwise comparison of two prototypes while exiting a ski lift simulator. Consistent results of the preferences were found for the beginners and advanced group in both backside and frontside turns. The expert’s preferences were significantly inconsistent and were therefore not convincing. For beginners and advanced snowboarders, the novel rim on the anti-slip pad enhanced the perceived steering abilities during backside turns. For the frontside turns, the rim was only useful for the advanced group. The preferred rim orientation was perpendicular or slightly backward orient with respect to the direction of travel. As the rim was assessed to improve steering qualities, it could provide more safety during the use of lifts in snowboarding.