The Winter Olympics were held in Sochi at the start of the year with Russia and Norway winning the most medals. It’s an event that doesn’t always strike a chord with countries that don’t experience much in the way of snowfall, but with skiing and snowboarding becoming an increasingly popular pastime with holidaymakers, it’s only a matter of time before more countries invest more heavily in winter sports.
Much of the negative press around the Winter Olympics has been centered around the fact that many participating nations do not have the winter facilities needed to offer their athletes the opportunity to train as effectively as nations such as Russia and Norway. Thankfully, these worries should be over because in the quest to keep their athletes in peak shape, several nations have now incorporated the use of some modern technologies. No expense has been spared and a lot of participating nations have invested heavily in high-tech equipment, including sensors and augmented reality.
Here are some of the winter training technologies competitive athletes have begun to train with for upcoming events:
Virtual Skiing and Snowboarding
Athletes can now hone their snowboarding skills by training on a revolutionary snowboard simulator, known as the ‘Sky Tech Sport Ski and Snowboard Simulator’ which is a virtual realty program designed to mimic the entire snowboarding experience, including challenges and obstacles.
Although it may seem as if you’re playing a virtual reality video game, bear in mind the simulation will provide a realistic experience where hitting the slopes and falling off may surprise you. The simulator is designed and developed by a team of physicists and engineers and involves the use of 3D glasses, GPS transmission and VR. The simulation is played on a panoramic screen, which is about 27 feet wide. The machine is also designed to replicate the G-force experienced while skiing or snowboarding downhill.
Deep Freeze Recovery
You wouldn’t believe what athletes do these days to recuperate. A cryotherapy chamber has been developed for athletes so they can speed up their muscle development and recovery. The cryotherapy chamber induces extremely cold temperatures, up to, -256oF. Though this seems harsh, the technology incorporates the use of liquid nitrogen to create an environment cold enough to activate an athlete’s endorphins in order to relieve muscle stress and pain and reduce inflammation.
Ice Skating Sensors
Ice Skaters are graceful and perform intricate routines that are easy on the eye. However, the training behind the honing of these skills is nothing short of brutal. Perfecting jumps, twists and triple axels involves falling down constantly, which can have a considerable impact on the athlete’s joints, especially his/her hips. In light of this, Jim Richards, a sports researcher at the University of Delaware, has come up with a technology that reduces the pain that Ice Skaters experience.
Ice Skaters can strap themselves to a sensor, which projects their movements in 3D. This also helps ice skating coaches determine where the skater needs to improve. This can help reduce the injuries sustained by the skater during training.
In conclusion, these are some of the top technologies winter athletes are using to hone their skills and increase their competitiveness.