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Measurement of mechanical properties of snow for simulation of skiing

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In the simulation of skiing the force between ski and snow is a decisive factor. We decompose the reaction force into a penetration force normal to the snow surface, a shear force and friction. Two portable measurement devices were developed to study the penetration and shear forces for compacted snow on groomed ski slopes. The penetration force was assessed by measuring the penetration depth of a ski-tool loaded normal to the snow surface. For the shear force the tangential load was measured when the snow began to fail. Overall 236 penetration and 108 shear experiments were conducted on different types of snow. The penetration force was proportional to the volume of snow displaced by the ski-tool. The failure shear force was proportional to the penetration depth multiplied by the length of the tool. The constants of proportionality, H V and S f, are material parameters of snow. The snow hardness, H V, varied between 0.04 and 90 N mm–3 and the failure shear stress, S f, between 0.04 and 0.40 N mm–2. In another investigation, skiing turns were simulated using the presented snow reaction forces. Maximum deviations between computed and real trajectories were <1% of the overall length of the runs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2013

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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