Phenomena

PyeongChang 2018: Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, is a part of many longstanding disciplines in the Winter Games. Unlike downhill skiing, cross-country events typically involve mass starts, which allow athletes to interact, using one another for pacing and tactics. Drafting can be a valuable method to save energy and reduce drag. A following skier sees a 25% drag reduction while drafting; the lead skier gets about a 3% reduction in drag compared to skiing solo. Competitors usually wear tight-fitting suits to minimize drag, but unlike speedskating, for example, cross-country skiers don’t get much benefit from roughened surfaces and impermeable fabrics. Typical race speeds are 4 – 9 m/s, and most of these high-tech fabrics don’t provide tangible benefits until higher speeds. (Image credit: Reuters/S. Karpukhin, US Biathlon, GettyImages/Q. Rooney)

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