Speed skiers wear dense foam fairings on their lower legs and very streamlined helmets to increase streamlining. Their ski suits are made from air-tight latex or have a polyurethane coating to cut wind resistance, with knee and elbow pads to give some protection in the case of a crash.
The special skis used must be between 2.2 and 2.4 metres (94.5 inches) long and extra wide, and the ski boots are attached with bindingsss that can be tightened to a very secure setting of DIN 21 (a typical recreational setting being from 6 to 10). The ski poles are bent to shape around the body, and must be a minimum of 1m long.
Speed skiing is practiced on specially designed very steep courses one kilometer long, and there are only about thirty of them world-wide, many of them at high altitude to minimise resistance from the air. The first 300 or 400 metres of the course (the launching area) are used to gain speed, and the last 600 or 500 m (the run-out area) to slow and stop, with the speed being recorded over the 100 m between (the timing zone). The start point is chosen so that, in theory, skiers should not exceed 200km/h, so that competition is aimed at winning a particular event, not just breaking World records.
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4 See Also