Relationships between biomechanics and physiology in older, recreational alpine skiers


Corresponding author: Peter Scheiber, Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg, Schlossallee 49, 5400 Hallein – Rif, Austria. Tel: +43-662-8044-4897, Fax: +43-662-8044-615, E-mail:


The aims of this applied field study were (1) to provide descriptive data on the biomechanical variables of parallel ski steering, carving in long radii and individual technique skiing modes of older recreational skiers and (2) to determine the relationships between biomechanical and physiological variables during these skiing modes. The mean knee angle (MKA), range of knee angle (RKA), ground reaction forces (GRF), co-loading of the inner leg, mean heart rate (HRave), blood lactate (LA) and mean arterial pressure were determined for 14 older skiers (61.1 ± 5.4 years). The mean GRF did not differ between the skiing modes. Parallel ski steering resulted in a greater MKA, lower RKA and lower peak GRF compared with carving in long radii and individual technique. LA correlated positively to RKA during carving in long radii and individual technique, while HRave correlated negatively to MKA during parallel ski steering and carving in long radii. No significant relationships were found between the physiological and kinetic variables. In conclusion, dynamic skiing styles may result in increased muscle fiber recruitments, hence greater LA levels. Along with potentially greater loading of knee extensor muscles, lower MKAs may reduce perfusion and hinder substrate metabolism, consequently making ski turning more strenuous. Skiing with less knee flexion and a reduced RKAs could be recommended for older recreational skiers.