# Essay on The Physics of Downhill Skiing

2006 Words9 Pages
The Physics of Downhill Skiing You can hardly believe that the day you’ve been waiting for has arrived. After all this time of waiting patiently, Mother Nature has finally decided to cooperate by letting it snow. It was a miracle. The ski resorts had finally opened and in just a few minutes you’d be off the ski lift and ready to soar to the bottom of the mountain. Even though it’s your first time on skis, you’re sure you won’t have any problems. After all, you’re a pretty athletic individual, and you’ve watched skiing on the television during the winter Olympics. Your moment of reflection is put to a halt as your friend slaps you on the chest telling you it’s time to get off. You attempt to leave the chair, but your body quickly…show more content…
Every object on the earth is attracted by the mass of the earth. We can compute the force that one mass exerts on the other by using the equation F= G (m1m2/r2) (Kirkpatrick 85-86) We know that gravity is the force that allows the skier to travel down the hill. There are also forces that work to slow the skier down. These forces help prevent the skier from reaching dangerous speeds. These two forces are air resistance and friction. Newton’s first law of motion tells us that a body in motion remains in motion unless acted on by an outside force (Kirkpatrick, 31). Friction is an outside force that inhibits the movement of a skier. Without friction a skier would travel down the hill with an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2 (Mears 2). Friction is created as the skier slides the surface of his skis over the snow. The force of friction is expressed by the equation Ff = µFN, in which µ is the coefficient of friction. The coefficient of friction is the variable that takes into account all the factors that could impede the motion of the skier. The condition of the snow greatly affects the amount of friction that is experienced by the skier (Lind 169). The coefficient of friction for skis on snow is usually between 0.1 and 0.2 (Swinson 458). However, when it is to cold outside, below negative twenty-five degrees Celsius, the coefficient of friction the skier experiences on the snow increases. This is due to the snow being to