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Sebastien Racinais, Nadia Gaoua, Khouloud Mtibaa, Rodney Whiteley, Christophe Hautier and Marine Alhammoud


To determine the effect of cold ambient conditions on proprioception and cognitive function in elite alpine skiers.


22 high-level alpine skiers and 14 control participants performed a proprioceptive-acuity (active movement-extent discrimination) and a cognitive (planning task) test in cold (8°C) and temperate (24°C) ambient conditions.


All participants displayed an increase in thermal discomfort and the amount of negative affects in the cold environment (all P < .05). Average proprioceptive acuity was significantly better in the elite skiers (0.46° ± 0.12°) than in the control group (0.55° ± 0.12°) (P < .05) and was not affected by cold ambient conditions, except for a shift in the pattern of error (over- vs underestimation, P < .05). Cognitive performance was similar between elite skiers and control participants in temperate environments but decreased in the cold in the control group only (P < .05) becoming lower than in elite skiers (P < .05).


Elite alpine skiers showed a significantly better proprioceptive acuity than a control population and were able to maintain their performance during a cognitive task in a cold environment.