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How to measure speed while skiing?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
If there is an easy (cheap) way, I'd like to be able to measure my speed while skiing (max and avg).

How accurate is GPS speed measurement for a skier? Can you just take your Garmin to the hill?

If you're going in a straight line, I would imagine GPS is close, but add any turns at all and I would think it would begin to underestimate your actual on-snow speed.

If the hill is steep, will the GPS measure your speed only on the horiz axis? Or does it also somehow know you're also traveling along a vert axis?
post #2 of 20
Just say you were going as fast as you want, no one is going to believe you anyway! especially if you claim more than 30MPH

its a lot less expensive than a GPS device!
post #3 of 20
Think of a number.

Add 15mph to that number.

Mention it in every post you make here-after.

In order to add an additional 10mph to said number you need to be on 26-year-old SG skis.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Gosh, fellas, thanks for being so helpful. Reasons exist to want such information (speed) other than vanity.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoody View Post
Gosh, fellas, thanks for being so helpful. Reasons exist to want such information (speed) other than vanity.
Personally, what I do, is throw a baseball as hard as I can down the hill. I know I can throw a baseball somewhere around 120 mph, and since I catch up with it when it's halfway down the hill, I must be going 1/2 of 120, or 60mph. If I'm in South America, I have to do it backwards.

Read some of the speed threads...you'll understand. If anyone tried to give you a serious, conclusive answer, they'd be wrestled to the ground and beaten with an all-mountain ski because that's all they excel at anyway. Besides helmet use, and Richie's car buying decisions, there is nothing more hotly debated here than "how fast."
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Personally, what I do, is throw a baseball as hard as I can down the hill. I know I can throw a baseball somewhere around 120 mph, and since I catch up with it when it's halfway down the hill, I must be going 1/2 of 120, or 60mph. If I'm in South America, I have to do it backwards.

Read some of the speed threads...you'll understand. If anyone tried to give you a serious, conclusive answer, they'd be wrestled to the ground and beaten with an all-mountain ski because that's all they excel at anyway. Besides helmet use, and Richie's car buying decisions, there is nothing more hotly debated here than "how fast."
I think Richie CAN help with this question.
post #7 of 20
When your jacket starts flapping, you're going FAST.
post #8 of 20
I've always wondered how fast I really am skiing at any given time. I'm not interested in bragging, but I am curious. kind of like I'm curious about how fast I'm riding my bike. just because I want to know.

I'm surprised I've never seen someone sitting along the edge of a trail offering to measure speed with a radar gun, kind of like those people who take your photo at amusement parks and then try to sell them to you on your way out. The resorts are missing out on another revenue stream!
post #9 of 20
Eh, one of the local radio stations does "radar runs" on Thursday nights. While this seems like a good idea it's VERY controlled and there's no way to really exceed about 20-ish MPH with the way they have dumbed it down due to the potential for injury otherwise.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Personally, what I do, is throw a baseball as hard as I can down the hill. I know I can throw a baseball somewhere around 120 mph, and since I catch up with it when it's halfway down the hill, I must be going 1/2 of 120, or 60mph. If I'm in South America, I have to do it backwards.

Read some of the speed threads...you'll understand. If anyone tried to give you a serious, conclusive answer, they'd be wrestled to the ground and beaten with an all-mountain ski because that's all they excel at anyway. Besides helmet use, and Richie's car buying decisions, there is nothing more hotly debated here than "how fast."
great post!
post #11 of 20
Well, you could possibly find a resort that does amateur racing and at least you would have your times for similar race courses. If the courses are set up on one run, you could work out an approximate speed for the race. If you can get the length of the run from the resort information it will be easiest, other wise, you'll have to do a walk down the race course side to get an approximate yardage (large strides, one yard). Hopefully the resort uses a stationary starting and finish gate. Many do this for a weekly timed race for the public. if you participate in the race for a few weeks, you'll know your average time for running that course and be able to work out an average speed for that particular course. The course set up, snow conditions etc will vary weekly, but doing a set race course, would at least give you an approximated speed for that instance. Realize you will be slower in a GS or Slalom race then you might be on the hill when not making that many turns.
post #12 of 20
Short (and serious) answer, a Garmin or similar GPS unit will give you accuracy within about 1-2 mph.

Lots of folks poking fun at you above already tried this and took the same ribbing FWIW...
post #13 of 20
How to measure ski speed........
Put a baseball hat on. Start down the hill,straightline prefered. When it flies off your doing 22mph. Fetch your hat and put it on backwards, Repeat. When it flies off this time your going 30mph.
Ski with out eye protection. When your eyes start watering and you can't see anything your going 40mph. Put your ticket on your coat zipper and zip it to the top. Head down the hill at first it will slap you in the face numerous times,that's ok. When you hit 50mph the ticket will be plastered in your face and you won't be able to see anything. For anything above 50mph you won't have to worry about how fast your going. The ski patrol will let you know.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
How to measure ski speed........

Ski with out eye protection. When your eyes start watering and you can't see anything your going 40mph.
I thought that was more like 35mph, but maybe 35 is in colder weather.

How fast are you going when your eyes start watering and you are wearing your SCOTT over-the glasses ski goggles and your glasses at about -10 to -15 C?

Inquiring minds want to know.

The Garmin GPS will give you your horizontal point to point velocity. You will have to set it up to record track logs at maximum frequency and not rely on the max speed, because sometimes the readings are off due to frozen or weak batteries, poor satellite reception or other reasons. If you look at your track logs you will see that the speed given is just the horizontal distance between points divided by time between readings. So, yeah, it does not account for slope or arc length of the turn versus chord length, but it will still be high enough for lots of folks to cry "FOUL", especially if you like to ski a 26 year old pair of SG skis. Some GPS units use a doppler calculation on the satellite signals They are working off for the instantaneous speed readout and top speed, so it would be true velocity. I once did some calculations taking slope and chord lenght into account and it matched up pretty close.

A cheap radar gun might be more believable to some folks, but they will still cry "FOUL - it couldn't have been calibrated properly."

It seems the only acceptable measurement of speed is official FIS race timing.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Personally, what I do, is throw a baseball as hard as I can down the hill. I know I can throw a baseball somewhere around 120 mph, and since I catch up with it when it's halfway down the hill, I must be going 1/2 of 120, or 60mph. If I'm in South America, I have to do it backwards.
Chaos is that you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Read some of the speed threads...you'll understand. If anyone tried to give you a serious, conclusive answer, they'd be wrestled to the ground and beaten with an all-mountain ski because that's all they excel at anyway. Besides helmet use, and Richie's car buying decisions, there is nothing more hotly debated here than "how fast."
Safety related bar topics
post #16 of 20
I skied last week with a Nokia phone running Sports tracker GPS software.
Having been clocked, in the past, by a radar gun at 48mph, I'm fairly confident that I know what that feels like.
On one particular open run above the tree-line where I was "going for it" I was measured at 53mph (believable from previous experience). However on a different, tree-lined, run later in the day, my speed was recorded at 74mph.
There is NO WAY I was doing that speed.
I suggest that GPS tracks can be affected by a range of external factors & therefore should be treated with caution.

CW :-)

. . . but I DID hit 53
post #17 of 20
I used to wear a Boeri helmut that whistled when I hit 40mph.
post #18 of 20
Have your wife follow behind you in a car on a steep road one snowy day,not too close
post #19 of 20
Do you have an iPhone? There is a free app that uses the GPS to show your speed in mph/kts...I've used it to check my cars speedometer and bike speedometer too..works perfect.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Lots of folks poking fun at you above already tried this and took the same ribbing FWIW...
Yeah, next time I search a little harder before posting a new thread. My bad...topic has been beaten to death previously.
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