The study of modern alpine ski boots has gone through great changes in the last five years. Previous techniques have been limited to the qualitative “feeling” that given test subjects may have had regarding boot stiffnes, flexibility, and comfort (fit). Laboratory and on-hill comparisons at best offered limited observable differences. Quantitative analysis was not scientifically recorded. In addition, the rotation of the ankle joint in bending and the resulting transmission of the skiers forces through the boot to the ski have been inadequately defined. It is assumed that skier comfort will be increased through a better understanding and control of these variables.
This paper will look at the basic physical parameters now being used to define ski boot stiffness and flexibility. Hysteresis curves indicate stiffness and flexibility characteristics through the plotting of daN/metres per degree of anterior/posterior flexion. Designs can be tested and compared with both human and artificial legs under varying temperature conditions. Further research on comfort (fit) requirements through flouroscopic and X-ray films will be presented. It is hoped that future research directions will come to light from this presentation.