While watching the world cup downhill in Switzerland last week on TV, I noticed that both the men's and women's races were held on the same course, but the men's times were about 5 sec faster than the women's (men 1:27.50 to 1:31.98, women 1:22.94 to 1:25.07). Although I'm sure if you consider racers at all levels, there are lots of women who can beat lots of men, at the top level the men seem to be consistently faster. Why is this? I thought of several possible reasons:
1) The men are more skilled skiers? (unlikely? since they're all in the world cup, so they're all really good)
2) The men are heavier, so gravity pulls them down faster?
3) The men are stronger, so they are able to hold a tighter line in the turns, keeping closer to the fall line and reducing the distance covered?
I'm guessing 3 is the dominant factor? (It would be interesting to see an aerial view of the course with the paths of the various skiers superimposed on it.)
Are there other factors I haven't thought of?