Starting next January World Cup racers will be able to wear inflatable airbags. It is a similar system used by motorbike racers that inflate in high-speed crashes and offer support to the head and neck.
The system has been developed by Italian manufacturer, Dainese, in coordination with the International Ski Federation, FIS. It has three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, a GPS, and onboard electronics that collect all the data and deploy the airbags before a racer crashes into the ground.
They will used for the first time at a World Cup events in the women’s downhill in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, on January 10th.
The men will use it for the first time at the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland, the following weekend.
“History is what drives the future,” International Ski Federation (FIS) secretary general Sarah Lewis told The Associated Press on Tuesday after the approval was announced. “So the lessons learned from different crashes in the past are used as the basis to improve the situation in the future.”
The Italian ski ace Werner Heel tested the new airbag for skiers.