Italian Engineers Build "Safety First" Terrain Park...The Key Is Equivalent Fall Height (EFH)

Italian Engineers Build "Safety First" Terrain Park...The Key Is Equivalent Fall Height (EFH)

Skiing

Italian Engineers Build "Safety First" Terrain Park...The Key Is Equivalent Fall Height (EFH)

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“No matter how far they flew, each skier landed softly and safely on the snow.” – Nicola Petrone

Nicola Petrone and his colleges at the University of Padova wanted to improve the safety of terrain parks by taking their scientific knowhow and focusing on building a jump that provides soft landings no matter how big you send it according to digitaltrends.com.  The group went up to the San Vito ski resort in San Vito di Cadore in Italy to test their designs. They used a Prinoth snow groomer and 100 cubic meters of snow to construct their “safety first” jump in just 3 hours:

“To begin designing their safer jump, the team of engineers focused on the equivalent fall height (EFH) of a jump, a value that takes the velocity a person experiences when they make contact with the snow and expresses it as an equivalent height above the snow. People can absorb the impact of a jump with an EFH of 1.5 meters, but they suffer significant injury when the fall height climbs to 10 meters. To reduce the EFH, the team designed a jump that allowed the skier to stay at the same fall height now matter how far they jump.”

That may have been a bit dense for the non-scientific minded among us, but it boils down to mellow takeoffs and perfect downslope landings:

“The key to the jump is the contour of both the takeoff portion and the landing slope. The takeoff area was designed to be flat allowing the jumper to take off smoothly and avoid a missed jump that causes them to rotate in mid-air. This flat take-off point helps to ensure the jumper is level during flight. The team then engineered a landing area with a snow surface that was parallel to the jump. This design produces an EFH that remains the same throughout the length of the jump. Unlike traditional jumps where a skier will soar through the air before landing, the jumper using this constant equivalent fall height is never too high above the snow.”

The proof is in the pudding. They had their guinea pigs launch the specially designed kicker 20 times and they all landed smoothly:

“Petrone and his team built a 14-meter constant equivalent fall height jump and tested it at the San Vito ski resort in San Vito di Cadore in Italy. Petrone recruited skiers to test the jump and measured their performance using accelerometers and high-speed cameras. After analyzing the data collected from more than 20 jumps, the team discovered that the jumpers consistently maintained the projected 0.5-meter fall height over the entire length of the jump. No matter how far they flew, each skier landed softly and safely on the snow”

We are all about having the most possible fun on the hill while keeping it safe and hope resorts stateside take a cue from Petrone’s research and apply this kind of engineering towards safer terrain park builds in the future:

“There is no question that riders occasionally make mistakes that put them at risk; nevertheless an engineering approach could allow the construction of jumps that reduce the likelihood that a mistake will result in a catastrophic outcome.”

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TO READ THE DIGITALTRENDS.COM ARTICLE GO HERE

[images from researchgate.net & zimbio.com]

 

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