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The motion of the lower leg and the pressure at the interface between boot and lower leg were analyzed in both skiers and nonskiers to better understand current requirements of alpine ski boots for varying levels of skiing experience. Sixteen subjects, eight skiers and eight nonskiers, were tested. Five boots, including traditional, rear entry, and mid-entry designs, were studied. In each of the pairs of boots, subjects performed a series of rapid downward movements (“unweighting”) on skis that were rigidly attached to a platform. Pressure data were collected using a capacitance measuring mat with six measuring points located 4 through 17 cm above the ankle along the anterior surface of the right lower leg; displacement of the leg and boot was determined from two-dimensional video analysis. Results indicate that the pressure generated on the lower leg by experienced skiers was larger than pressure generated by nonskiers. The range of motion (flexion) of the boots was also greater for the skiers. The ratio of pressure to angular displacement was consistent across groups within each boot, indicating that flexion characteristics are governed by material properties of the individual boots. This pressure-to-displacement ratio did vary among boot designs. With this in mind, it is recommended that, to achieve the range of motion necessary for proper performance of an alpine ski boot, beginning skiers should use a boot with a greater angular deflection for a given applied pressure. Information of this nature could be included in commercial specifications.
skiing safety, skiing performance, ski boots, pressure distribution, boot testing, displacement
Master's student, Penn State University, Biomechanics LabInstitute for Biomechanical Analysis in Sports and interdisciplinary Studies (BASiS), TÜV-PS, Munich 2,
Head, Institute for Biomechanical Analysis in Sports and interdisciplinary Studies (BASiS), TÜV-PS, Munich 2,
Professor and Head, Penn State Biomechanics Lab, Penn State University, University Park, PA