Jamt and company have really got me thinking about the energetics of skiing.
After making some measurements of ski elasticity I'm starting to come around to the view that a ski alone under a distributed load condition cannot store enough energy to get that "pop" you feel when you load your tails and suddenly release them.
A good scientist is always challenging their own BS so I'm really trying to understand what is going on here.
What has been neglected to date in this discussion is the visco elastic properties of the snow that supports the ski and skier.
If snow were made of rubber balls, a lot of energy would be transferred to the snow as a travelling elastic wave under the skier.
This energy storage mechanism could be important to understanding the energetics of skiing.
Snow isn't made of rubber balls but it is far more complicated than one thinks.
I don't yet have any conclusions about this but what goes on in the snowpack has to be considered in a correct description of skiing energetics.
So I'm doing some reading.
This is the best document on snow mechanics that I have yet found.
It is probably better to drink than read stuff like this but just in case you are interested, here it is.
Snow is an amazingly complicated material.
No wonder the Eskimos have over 20 words to describe the different kinds.