Idre 2014 Speedskiing Info

Speed skiing is the sport of skiing downhill in a straight line as quickly as possible. It is one of the fastest non-motorized sports on land. The current world record is 251.4 km/h (156 mph), held by Simone Origone. Speed skiers regularly exceed 200 km/h (125 mph), which is even faster than the terminal velocity of a free-falling skydiver; about 193 km/h (120 mph) in the belly-to-earth position.Speed skiers wear dense foam fairings on their lower legs and aerodynamic helmets to increase streamlining. Their ski suits are made from air-tight latex or have a polyurethane coating to cut wind resistance, with only a mandatory back protector to give some protection in the case of a crash.

The special skis used must be 2.4 meters (94.5 inches) long and maximum 10cm wide with a maximum weight of 15 kg for the pair. ski boots are attached to the skis by bindings. The ski poles are bent to shape around the body, and must be a minimum of 1 m long.

Speed skiing is practiced on steep, specially designed courses one kilometer long. There are approximately thirty of these courses world-wide, many of them at high altitudes to minimize air resistance. The first 300 or 400 meters of the course (the launching area) is used to gain speed, the top speed is measured in the next 100 meters and the last 500 m (the run-out area) is used for slowing down and coming to a stop, with the speed being recorded over the 100 m between (the timing zone). The start point in FIS races is chosen so that, in theory, skiers should not exceed 200 km/h, hence competition is aimed at winning a particular event, not breaking world speed records. At Proraces, there is no maximum speed and the speed attained is determined by conditions and safety.

Speed skiing was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Winter Olympics at Albertville.