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weight vs speed

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Here is a topic I don't remember discussing here.

What is the consesus from the racing crowd regarding technique and skill vs weight? I am convinced a lighter racer is at a disadvantage. I've seen many good 150lb racers get beat time wise by not as good racers over 200lbs. The lighter racers have to be flawless on a small 25 second hill where as a heavier skier can get buy with less skill and have a faster overall time. I witness this phenomenon every week and it ticks me off!

Thoughts? Physicsman? I know there is a mass / momentum formula here somewhere?
post #2 of 17

Perhaps wind resistance

If that's a component in the race, the heavier skier will have less resistance vs their downward pull than the lighter ones

This also shows up in bike riding. Just start at the top of a hill with a friend that is different in weight. The heavier person (all things being similar in equipment/tires/etc) will coast down quite a bit faster.

SuperG and GS would give more advantage than Slalom as they are faster and have more of a wind resistance component.

That's my guess.

(I shouldn't add that I seem to be faster than most people I ski with. I can stay in their tracks and I always catch up - in fact quickly. But I got some of them by 50 pounds. (thus the "shouldn't add" part))
post #3 of 17
I think this is true. Another reason is that heavier skiers don't get tossed around by the inconsistancies of a race course as easily. If they hit a pile of soft snow or a rut, they can over power it more easily. Wind resistance, as John mentioned is an issue as is just the fact that they will glide faster. If they screw up and slow down too much, they get back up to speed more quickly than a lighter skier. This isn't the vacuum of space. We have lots of friction, and weight overcomes that friction a lot better.
post #4 of 17
I agree. Since I weigh 141-143, I feel I am at a disadvantage with many other skiers especially in real tough conditions. They plow through stuff I get tossed around in. However in powder, I have an easier time floating.

In biking, I really notice an advantage going up hills. Even when I am out of shape, I can fly pass heavier bikers. Now, if there was only skiing up hill......
post #5 of 17
hahaha..that's good one.

Actually I like to be in 180 instead of 200lbs +.. skier group.
post #6 of 17
First – let me say I agree big guys have an advantage. Watch any downhill and you’ll hear this quite often. Believe it or not this is true in cycling as well – as long as it’s not uphill.



Increased mass usually means increase surface area. However, in cycling and ski racing you’re usually in a tuck position where the difference in frontal surface area between a big guy and little guy is sufficiently negligible for the given mass.



The one with more mass will carry more Mo-mentum to carry him through the friction (air). But, he won’t “accelerate faster after a screw up”.



In cycling there’s also a double whammy where the larger guy will have larger muscles and lungs (i.e. a bigger engine - all other things equal of course) to power him through … the uphill story is a different story.



Also, bigger isn’t always better …



Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
... heavier skiers don't get tossed around by the inconsistancies of a race course as easily. If they hit a pile of soft snow or a rut, they can over power it more easily.




Soft snow maybe, but two equally good or bad skiers at different weights will get tossed out of a rut the same. Here the bigger skier is at a disadvantage because he’ll need a disproportionate amount of strength as compared to the lighter guy to overcome the jostling. My experience is that lighter guys are pound for pound stronger than their big burly counterparts.



All this said, as a big burly guy I pray at the alter of Mo.
post #7 of 17
Heavier is an advantage, particularly in DH and SG, less so in GS and SL. It might have been a disadvantage in slalom long ago, but not since skiing through the gates became SOP.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgudaitis
Now, if there was only skiing up hill......
Ah, but there is. I mean, even aside from cross-country, which one might fairly point out is really an entirely different sport.

See, for example:

http://www.skipressmag.com/2001/usa/...cle&recno=1001
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgudaitis
I agree. Since I weigh 141-143, I feel I am at a disadvantage with many other skiers especially in real tough conditions. They plow through stuff I get tossed around in. However in powder, I have an easier time floating.

In biking, I really notice an advantage going up hills. Even when I am out of shape, I can fly pass heavier bikers. Now, if there was only skiing up hill......
Funny you should mention that......

http://www.kreuzotter.de/english/espeed.htm

It's a biking example but I THINK that the formulas still hold. Look at how much wattage is required to move a 200 lbs biker up the hill vs a 140 lbs biker. The easiest way to "gain" power is to loose weight. Also, look at speed downhill at 200 vs 140...

Lonnie

BTW I love climbing on my bike. I tipped the scales at 136 at lunch today
post #10 of 17
As someone who is TOO fat, I can definitely point out big disadvantages to being overweight. For one, your knees -- no matter how big or small, your knees don't compensate like muscles do to help bear the strain and weight. Being too fat can also screw up carving and ski-flex on all but the most burly, long skis.
post #11 of 17
Weight is definitely a big advantage in speed events held on flatter terrain. The heavier racer has much more force from gravity, but only slightly more air resistance than a lightweight, resulting in a higher terminal velocity. I ski with a heavier friend and it's frustrating trying to keep up on the glides, unless I tuck in behind and draft along.
post #12 of 17
I am a lightweight guy (about 155lbs). I am also a college level ski racer. I have struggled with the disadvantage that my weight puts me at for some time now. As a lighter skier you have to find other skills or muscles that you can develop that will make it so you are at less of a disadvantage.

I have worked off the slopes to develop amazing balance on and off skis, as well as developing strength in my lower and upper body. I only weigh 155lbs but i can squat almost 300lbs, and bench about 185lbs. I also do an extensive leg work out to keep my legs in very good shape in comparison to the big guys i race against. They usually will not be able to lift proportionally the amounts of weight that i can handle, therefore have a harder time on the snow holding their skis on the snow - eliminating chatter, bending the ski... etc.

I have also worked to develop my carving in and out of the course so i can keep my line clean when other big guys just cant make the turns. Leg strength is important here as well... but it isnt as important as the lack of weight. Down a pitch especially, a heavier person will gain more speed than a lighter one. Therefore if they dont have the strength to compensate they will have to put on the brakes or not carve clean turns so they do not end up going too fast. The lighter skier will not be traveling as fast, but can often maintain a carve in a tighter line than the larger person can. This will allow the lighter skier to carry more speed out of a technical section of the course.

I have also found an advantage from my size and build. I am a short guy (only 5'7") but i am fairly stocky and muscular (7% body fat the last time i checked). This allows me to have a lower center of gravity than a taller lanky guy. When carving turns this makes a huge difference in the amount of angluation i can get... thus will let me carry a lot of speed through turns... and accelerate out of turns.

Now as for a short flat hill... This is tough. A light guy stands almost no chance of catching a heavier guy... especially if a heavier guy sets the course. They will often set turns that they know people of their body type will be able to carry speed through. If the course is set with any kind of technical section you will be able to have a more fair race. Work on how clean you can carve your turns and also how to accelerate out of your turns. Riding a flat ski where you can helps as well, since the base is faster than the edges. Try to take a line through the course that no heavy guy could match. Carve it clean, tight, and fast.

(Ideally i would like to grow 2 inches and gain 25lbs, but i dont think that will be happening so ill make due with what i have. At 5'9" and 180lbs and the same amount of strength proportionally that i have now i think i would be a VERY competitive racer).

Later

GREG
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
I have also found an advantage from my size and build. I am a short guy (only 5'7") but i am fairly stocky and muscular (7% body fat the last time i checked). This allows me to have a lower center of gravity than a taller lanky guy. When carving turns this makes a huge difference in the amount of angluation i can get... thus will let me carry a lot of speed through turns... and accelerate out of turns.
Try to take a line through the course that no heavy guy could match. Carve it clean, tight, and fast.
GREG
More angulation, accelerate out of turns, carve clean tight and fast all add up to more skill. Just what I suspected. There never is an easy way is there.
post #14 of 17
anyone remember tamara mckinney? a petite flower that could wax the big girls.

anyone remember ingemar stemark? well, i won't call him a petite flower but you know whay i'm saying.

who started this thread? are you trying to justify that extra helping of sausage?
post #15 of 17
>>>All this said, as a big burly guy I pray at the alter of Mo.<<<

Did you say Moe? In that case I should beat Tommy down a downhill any time, just look at my weight advantage <big grin>

post #16 of 17
That's a great picture with Tommy Moe, I remember when you first posted it. Enjoyed seeing it again. Had the opportunity last week to go to Vail and on Sat, to reduce liftlines went to Beaver Creek and skied the bumped out DH course. I have never seen a live DH race, but skiing the Beaver Creek downhill course provided some perspective to how incredible these WC downhillers must be to fly down the same hill at 80 mph.

When you see the poles along the side to hold up the netting it kind of gives you goosebumps. Moe and company are no doubt absolutely fearless.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgudaitis
Now, if there was only skiing up hill......
T-Bar dude!! That's uphill...lol

then that heavier person in front of you gets off and the cable, tbar, and your butt go ...sproioioioioing...fun ride.
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