Sports Engineering

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 55–62 | Cite as

Towards a methodology for comparing the effectiveness of different alpine ski waxes

Original Article


The aim of this work is to develop a methodology for the glide testing of waxed skis at an indoor ski centre, using artificial snow. Two skiers, one acting as a control with unwaxed skis, undertook the test runs over a 50-m course. Timing gates allowed split times to be measured for a selection of waxes, as well as unwaxed skis. Five runs were conducted for each ski preparation, interlaced with control runs. Unwaxed skis produced similar run times to waxed skis for the complete course, with measurements showing their probable superiority over the first 10 m. A tentative interpretation involves the delay in forming a lubricating meltwater film under waxed skis by comparison with unwaxed skis. Recommendations are made for future measurements, including a longer course, close matching of skiers’ masses and ski sizes, all timing systems accurate to 0.001 s, a start 3 m above the first timing gate and more effective methods of wax removal.



We would like to thank Steve and Phil Pickles for their participation in the measurements, Abi Okell for technical assistance and The Sharks Ski Club, Sheffield for the loan of the timing equipment. We are indebted to the staff of SNO!zone, Castleford, UK for making possible the measurements. We are also grateful to Drs Roger Jackson and Keith Jones for their assistance with the statistical analysis.


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Copyright information

© International Sports Engineering Association 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematics Group, Faculty of ACESSheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Process EngineeringUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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