During the last few weeks, we have spoken with Daniel Schinkel, owner and founder of Snowsportcenter Utrecht, Anne Kossen, ski grass expert of Dutch Mountains, and ski instructor Maico van Kleinwee to share their knowledge and experience on the artificial ski simulator.
Not everyone has direct access to mountains or snow! That’s why SkiMachine is bringing the mountains to you by installing our ski simulators worldwide. It’s obvious that indoor skiing and outdoor skiing know different circumstances and therefore we want to give an insight on the skiing conditions of our SkiMachine simulators, addressing subjects as speed, grip, transitioning to snow, and the key aspect to a challenging ski lesson.
Speed on a ski simulator explained
With a rush of snow beneath your skis and the feeling of cold air on your face, alpine skiing involves high speed and quick turns down a sloped terrain which is sensational for both thrill-seekers as recreative skiers. A skier gains speed by converting gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy of motion, meaning the more a skier descends a hill, the faster he goes.
When skiing on a SkiMachine, creating speed is different. How does this work?
The speed of a skier on a ski simulator depends on two factors: the speed of the treadmill and the number of turns a skier can make. Adjusting the speed of the treadmill when a skier is holding on to the safety bar results in greater forces underneath the skis and creates a sensational feeling of ”fast skiing’’, while the only thing’s moving is the conveyer belt! However, from the moment a skier starts to make turns, there is lateral movement, meaning the skier traverses a certain distance in a certain time compared to his starting position. With the proper training, an increase in the number of turns you can make per minute will result in the creation of speed!
Another way to approach the feeling of ‘’fast skiing’’ is for a ski instructor to benefit from the depth of our Treadmill SkiMachine simulators and include exercises with diagonal movements from one corner to the other so a forward momentum will be created. In combination with making turns, this will result in a higher ski speed.
Grip on the artificial ski grass surface
Our indoor ski simulators are covered with a specially developed artificial ski grass called Pro-Snow®. The artificial ski grass is moistened equally by our semi-automatic sprinkler system for a reduction in friction. No chemicals or additives are used. This high-quality equivalent of snow is made from several sorts of low friction fibers and tested endlessly on our revolving dry slope to ensure durability and to create a feeling that is similar to real snow. The most important factor that influences the feeling of real snow is proper quality artificial ski grass with the right density to return the energy of one’s skis to the skier, which in the skiing industry is also known as rebound. It is important to know that you can benefit from using the right skiing gear on a ski simulator since this affects the amount of rebound received!
What skis should you use?
Our advice is to supply skies to your customers as this is usually the best way to control the experience of riding a SkiMachine simulator. Rentals, because of their durability, easy adjusting, and hard base work great with our Pro-Snow artificial ski grass. The advantage of using for example a rental type of ski is that the condition of the ski can be monitored by the instructors and blisters that can damage the artificial ski surface can be avoided. The skies we use on the SkiMachine simulator are the same as the skies used in the snow including sharp edges.
Do you really want to bring your own skis? That’s possible but only if an experienced ski instructor concludes there is no wax layer, no blisters or chemical lubricants that could possibly cause harm to the ski carpet. What about shoes? Of course people are welcome to bring in their own boots. As a matter of fact, our SkiMachines are the right choice when it comes to breaking in new boots and optimum boot fitting!
We have 25 years of experience and tested endless combinations of fibers, density, strengths, and lengths and came to what we call Pro-Snow. As it’s used by 75% of the indoor ski school I think we succeeded in delivering an experience that comes as close as possible to the real thing!
Transition from a simulator to the mountains
Building your skiing technique year-round on a treadmill ski simulator is the most effective way to make progress. What are the biggest advantages of training on a ski simulator before transitioning to real snow? The Treadmill SkiMachine provides constant circumstances, meaning there are no other skiers, no bumps, no icy surfaces, no wind or cold, and no sudden speed increases.
Having a professional instructor at hand is the biggest advantage of training on a ski simulator. The instructor provides a wide training program with different modules that each focus on a specific part of the skiing technique which serves as a preparation for skiing on the mountains and also allows the more advanced skiers to keep learning new skills and optimize their skiing technique in a fun and effective way.
The moment you’re bringing your skis to real snow on the mountains, there are certain differences to take into account. When you’re putting all your effort into optimizing your skiing technique on a ski simulator, the easier it will be to adapt to changing circumstances. Practicing your skiing technique year-round on a skiing simulator and applying it on the mountains is the perfect learning method that helps to anticipate bumps, icy surfaces, other skiers and to safely control your speed when going downhill.
It is important to know how the SkiMachine is used properly. An instructor, optionally trained and certified, will help the skiers and snowboarders with making progression or offers you plenty of ski fun by activating the interactive ski games. A mirror frame in front gives you accurate feedback about your moves on the ski simulator while the ski instructor is using the control panel and remote control to guide you safely through your session. The angle of the ski treadmill is adjustable as well as the speed which makes this ski machine suitable for both beginners and experienced skiers.
The instructors often play a key role in your indoor ski center which is why you need to train them well. When our infinite ski simulators are equipped with interactive ski training software and your ski instructors are well trained, the return rate of your customers will be even higher! Keep your customers challenged!
Each year Snowsportscenter Utrecht organizes a big training course regarding updates in the ski program for skiing instructors from all over the Netherlands!
The gamification in the ski industry
Including a game element in ski training makes the life of an instructor easier because it helps to create a challenging learning path. Having fun when standing on a SkiMachine is the most important of all; intrinsic motivation and excitement leads to an efficient learning process, guaranteed positive reactions from clients, and of course the need after a successful training to enjoy a hot chocolate in the bar of the ski center.
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