Dr Newman's Physics 211 Web Project on The Physics of Skiing and Wax by Tyler Freeman


Copyright Sports Illustrated

Skiing is an old sport; the oldest artifacts date back over 4000 years. It was developed in the Scandinavian region, especially Norway, and didn't spread to the rest of Europe until the sixteenth or seventeenth century. It probably came over with Norwegian and German immigrants during the nineteenth century.
Skiing relies on many different forms physics. Newton's Laws of Motion, the transformation of potential energy into kinetic energy, air resistance, circular motion, even conservation of circular momentum is used as skiers pump upwards during a turn. Friction is by far the least understood of these forces. The surface of snow is a strange interaction between water, ice and water vapor, the three forms of water found on Earth. Snow changes properties and is difficult to measure and study in its natural environment.