The Physics Behind Ski Jumps

    Much like that of the image (A) below, a ski jumper will follow will follow the same path starting at the top of (h).  However, for slow motion drag is not included in the acceleration, only gravity.  For the case of a ski jumper it is ideal to maximize their surface area by leaning forward in order to increase the drag.  This maximizes their distance in the positive x direction, due to their ability to use drag to the jumpers advantage.  The result is the jumpers ability to go farther down the jump and closer to the end in image (B).
                                        A                                                                                                                          B

                   Projectile Motion Example                                                 Ski Jump Model

The two key equations derived from Physics (from USAFA) that apply to ski jumping are as follows:

Vf = Vi + a*t
d = Vi*t + a*t^2^
Vf= Velocity Final
Vi= Velocity Inital
a= acceleration (with gravity and drag included)
t= time

Here is a good example of how far the ski jumper will go based on their ability to create more drag:
      (which will be discussed in further detail in the next page.)

            This Jumper will go very far, and showing really good technique with maximum surface area exposed:                   On the other hand, these two jumpers will go no where.  (Poor Technique!):
                                             Proper Technique                                                                                                                 Poor Technique


The History and Overview of Ski Jumping                  
The Physics Behind Ski Jumps                  
                Using Physics to Aid the Jumper                                 
 Improvements to Ski Jumping