Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Influence of ski width on alpine skiing safety

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.10.03  Social sciences  Sport  Kinesiology - biomechanical, biometrical aspect 

Code Science Field
S273  Social sciences  Physical training, motorial learning, sport 

Code Science Field
5.09  Social Sciences  Other social sciences 
biomechanics, 3D measurements of movement, muscle forces, knee joint, computer simulation, robotics
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (16)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  20216  PhD Jan Babič  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  296 
2.  04954  PhD Milan Čoh  Sport  Researcher  2011 - 2014  880 
3.  16124  PhD Blaž Lešnik  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  403 
4.  14038  PhD Zlatko Matjačić  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  372 
5.  00118  PhD Bojan Nemec  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  289 
6.  24473  PhD Andrej Olenšek  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  113 
7.  34573  Luka Peternel  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2012 - 2014  39 
8.  28553  PhD Petra Prevc  Sport  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  70 
9.  04959  PhD Vojko Strojnik  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  585 
10.  20755  PhD Matej Supej  Sport  Head  2011 - 2014  348 
11.  06162  PhD Anton Ušaj  Educational studies  Researcher  2011 - 2014  371 
12.  33866  Rok Vertič  Sport  Technical associate  2011 - 2012 
13.  31012  PhD Janez Vodičar  Sport  Researcher  2011 - 2014  302 
14.  06655  Janez Zalar    Technical associate  2011 
15.  03332  PhD Leon Žlajpah  Systems and cybernetics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  267 
16.  03465  PhD Milan Žvan  Sport  Researcher  2011 - 2014  643 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,976 
2.  0309  University Rehabilitation Institute, Republic of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5053919000  5,779 
3.  0587  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sport  Ljubljana  1627040  19,236 
Recently, the number of knee injuries and also injuries to other parts of the body as a result of the fall has been on the increase, both in recreational and competitive Alpine skiing. This concurs with the trend observed in the ski manufacturing, namely the widening of the area of ski under the boot and the lowering of the base plate. A consideration of the balance of forces and torques reveals the fact that, in case of a wider ski, the vector of the ground reaction forces no longer crosses the knee joint, thus the knee joint is exposed to higher torques in the medio-lateral direction. However, skiing is a complex motor task and it is impossible to arrive at reliable and final findings using such a simplification of the problem. This requires an in-depth study which will be divided in three phases. Phase I:Field measurements First, some typical samples of skiing with different skis will be acquired. The following will be measured: 1) 3D movement of the skier's locomotor system, 2) muscle activity, 3) skier's global position and speed on the ski slope, 4) ground reaction forces and 5) 3D mesh of the ski slope surface. The result of Phase I will show whether there are any significant differences in the activation of knee muscle structures, in the kinematics of the skiing technique and in the external forces acting on the skier. The measured data will be directly used for biomechanical modelling in Phase II and for construction of the laboratory device for testing the loading on the musculoskeletal system which will be based on the use of robot technology and construction of an artificial leg (Phase III). Phase II:Biomechanical modelling Phase II involves designing of a complex biomechanical model for calculating the forces and torques which act on the joints of the skier with a focus particularly on the knee joint. The existing system (OpenSim) designed for biomechanical modelling and simulation will also be used. The results of the measurements in Phase I (kinematics and dynamics) will serve as input data for the designed skier model. The results of Phase II will include the derived forces and torques in the knee joint based on actual field measurements and using different skis. Phase III:Testing device As biomechanical modelling involves the risk of the model failing to deliver real results, a testing device will be developed in Phase III to enable experimental verification of the biomechanical model. For this purpose a model of a human leg will be designed and exposed to the same conditions as can be seen in Alpine skiing. These forces will be re-created using robot technology i.e. a parallel robot mechanism. A standard measurement protocol will be designed on a simulation device which will enable a direct comparison of the average and maximum forces and torques in the knee while using different skis or bindings. It should be emphasised that this device is designed also for testing real skis, bindings and base plates, not only mathematical models. The socio-economic justification of the project is reflected in several points. Slovenia has a strong ski equipment industry and highly developed winter tourism, as Alpine skiing is a national sport. Therefore, a safe and healthy way of practising sport is extremely important and is directly related to the use of appropriate equipment. It is generally known that recreational sport positively affects health and productivity at work. Thus, the probability of injuries must be reduced. The problem of injuries is also clearly manifested in competitive skiing which is highly developed in Slovenia. It can be expected with high probability that the new findings of the project will contribute to fewer injuries in recreational and competitive skiing as well as help to boost the skiing industry. Moreover, the new testing device will also be of great use to the manufacturers and assessors of ski equipment as it can be used for measuring the impact of real ski equipment on the musculoskeleta
Significance for science
The goals of the study have been tackled using the latest technology, which at the moment is developed and commercially available. The largest kinematic measurements of whole-body movements in alpine skiing have been performed, allowing us generalization of the results. We have developed a musculo-skeletal model for alpine skiing, which allows for the treatment of the effects of using different widths of skis as well as in-depth analysis of the impact of other ski equipment (e.g. ski boots) and various ski techniques. In addition, a robotic simulator for skiing was developed, which is the first of its kind and allows manipulation of application of the ground reaction force in the medial-lateral direction. It simulator has its scientific value in studying alpine skiing as well as other human locomotion. The whole system of biomechanical modelling and testing has potential applications in medicine, medical diagnostics, rehabilitation, evaluation of knee prostheses etc. The content of the entire project is the link between sports kinesiology, ergonomics and medicine, which represents new opportunities for research. The survey results have a direct and immediate transfer of knowledge into practice. New knowledge will enhance safety in recreational and competitive alpine skiing. Ski experts will be capable of providing professional and research based results supported advises on the most appropriate, i.e. safest, ski equipment.
Significance for the country
Alpine skiing is one of the most important winter tourism activities in Slovenia, where an increase in injuries have been noticed after the new geometry of skis came to the market. In is an intention to use the results of the project to better educate skiing professional through the Slovenian Ski Instructors and Coaches Association in order to influence a greater part of Slovenian ski populations in terms of choice of appropriate equipment, ski techniques, physical preparation, selection of the appropriate slopes and the preparation of the ski slopes. At the same time the project influence the Slovenian ski equipment manufacturers (primarily Elan d.d.) and thereby provide a competitive advantage to producers of "safe skis". The sub-projects directly assisted the development of special ski-lifters that have advantages both in competitive skiing and in improved operation of safety bindings. We have also helped in the development and evaluation of above-knee prostheses for alpine skiing, which is unique product and enables a breakthrough on the market. Newly developed biomechanical models and robotic platform provide new services of the Institute of Sport at the Faculty of Sport, which will be able to benefit manufacturers of sports equipment on the one hand and the ski teams for the optimization of ski equipment of elite competitors on the other hand. And last but not least we want to promote Slovenian science and skiing knowledge at the International Skiing Association (FIS), where we will propose new standards for equipment in competitive skiing. This is just one of the much-needed mile-stones to the brand "Made in Slovenia".
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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