Biomechanics of the ski cross start indoors on a customised training ramp and outdoors on snow

Niels Jensby Nedergaard, Frederik Heinen, Simon Sloth, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Uwe Gustav Kersting


An effective start enhances an athlete's chances of success in ski cross competitions. Accordingly, this study was designed to investigate the biomechanics of start techniques used by elite athletes and assess the influence of different start environments. Seven elite ski cross athletes performed starts indoors on a custom-built ramp; six of these also performed starts on an outdoor slope. Horizontal and vertical forces were measured by force transducers located in the handles of the start gate and a 12-camera motion capture system allowed monitoring of the sagittal knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow kinematics. The starting movement involved Pre, Pull, and Push phases. Significant differences between body sides were observed for peak vertical and resultant forces, resultant impulse, and peak angular velocity of the shoulder joint. Significantly lower peak vertical forces (44 N), higher resultant impulse (0.114 Ns/kg), and knee joint range of motion (12°) were observed indoors. Although movement in the ski cross start is generally symmetrical, asymmetric patterns of force were observed among the athletes. Two different movement strategies, i.e. pronounced hip extension or more accentuated elbow flexion, were utilised in the Pull phase. The patterns of force and movement during the indoor and outdoor starts were similar.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)273-86
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elbow/physiology
  • Female
  • Hip/physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee/physiology
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Physical Education and Training/methods
  • Shoulder/physiology
  • Skiing/physiology
  • Snow
  • Young Adult


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