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The effect of skis on the force–time characteristics of the simulated ski jumping takeoff was examined in a wind tunnel. Takeoff forces were recorded with a force plate installed under the tunnel floor. Signals from the front and rear parts of the force plate were collected separately to examine the anteroposterior balance of the jumpers during the takeoff. Two ski jumpers performed simulated takeoffs, first without skis in nonwind conditions and in various wind conditions. Thereafter, the same experiments were repeated with skis. The jumpers were able to perform very natural takeoff actions (similar to the actual takeoff) with skis in wind tunnel. According to the subjective feeling of the jumpers, the simulated ski jumping takeoff with skis was even easier to perform than the earlier trials without skis. Skis did not much influence the force levels produced during the takeoff but they still changed the force distribution under the feet. Contribution of the forces produced under the rear part of the feet was emphasized probably because the strong dorsiflexion is needed for lifting the skis to the proper flight position. The results presented in this experiment emphasize that research on ski jumping takeoff can be advanced by using wind tunnels.
Mikko Virmavirta (Corresponding Author) and Paavo Komi are with the Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Juha Kivekäs is with the Aerodynamics Research Unit, Department of Applied Mechanics, School of Engineering, Aalto University, Finland.