Air Bags: A Giant Step for Ski Racers

AirBags

CBC is reporting that “a radical air bag system that could have a big impact on safety in skiing” was tested in December on the World Cup circuit.

Jan Hudec, who scored Canada’s first World Cup podium finish of the year on Friday, December 20, was reportedly wearing air bags in his downhill training on days leading up to the race.

Calling it a “giant step” for skier racers, the CBC report said: “Working with the International Ski Federation (FIS), the Italian manufacturer Dainese has been collecting information from skiers for four years to find the exact algorithm as to when can the system should go into effect — in other words, at what point in a fall can a racer no longer regain control.”

The report said that while the air bags have not yet been approved for ski racing, the system is currently used in motorcycle racing.

“In motorcycle racing,” reports the CBC, “the air bag system inflates when the body leaves the bike with a forward rotation, whereas in skiing the exact moment when a racer loses complete control varies from one crash to another.”

“Dainese collected information from skiers by lodging special chips in their back protectors that record speed, angular rotation, acceleration and other information.”

To read the full CBC story, see ‘Canadian downhill skier Jan Hudec tests new air bag system’ at http://www.cbc.ca/sports/skiing/canadian-downhill-skier-jan-hudec-tests-new-air-bag-system-1.2470459

Photo of Jan Hudec courtesy of Alpine Canada.

SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles

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