Science and Skiing V -  - ebook

Science and Skiing V ebook



The book contains the proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Science and Skiing. The scientific program again offered a broad spectrum on current research work in Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross-Country Skiing and Ski Jumping.

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5th International Congress on Science and SkiingSt. Christoph/Arlberg, AustriaDecember 14 - 19, 2010

Organizing Committee

Baumann ChristianaLindinger StefanBenko UlliMüller LisaBrillinger LisaMüller PeterBrillinger SabinePfusterschmied JürgenBuchecker MichaelPötzelsberger BirgitDallermassl KlausRing-Dimitriou SusanneDimitriou MinasSattlecker GeroldJahnel RüdigerScheiber PeterHaudum AnitaSpörri JörgKösters AlexanderStöggl ThomasKratky SashaWagner HerbertKröll Josef

Scientific Committee

Erich Müller (Chairman)Stefan Lindinger (Co-Chair)Thomas Stöggl (Co-Chair)

Amesberger GünterSchwameder HermannBacharach DaveSeifert JohnHoppeler HansVogt MichaelLoland SigmundVon Duvillard Serge




Edited by

Erich Müller

Stefan Lindinger

Thomas Stöggl

Meyer & Meyer Sport

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Science and Skiing V

Erich Müller, Stefan Lindinger, Thomas Stöggl (Eds.)

Maidenhead: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd., 2012

ISBN: 9781841263533

All rights reserved, especially the right to copy and distribute, including the translation rights. No part of this work may be reproduced—including by photocopy, microfilm or any other means—processed, stored electronically, copied or distributed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.

© 2012 by Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.

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ISBN: 9781841263533

eISBN: 9781841264288

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Can a ban on doping in skiing be morally justified?

Loland S.

Challenges and issues in ski jumping biomechanics

Schwameder H.

Competitive Alpine Skiing: Combining strength and endurance training: molecular bases and applications

Vogt M. and H. Hoppeler


Event-specific somatotype and physical characteristics of male and female elite alpine skiers

Aerenhouts D., R. Clijsen, R. Fässler, P. Clarys and J. Taeymans

Visual 3D perception of the ski course and skiing results

Aleshin V., S. Klimenko, A. Bobkov and D. Novgorodtsev

Does a skiing intervention influence psycho-social characteristics of the elderly?

Amesberger G., T. Finkenzeller, S Würth and E. Müller

Carbohydrate intake affects muscle fatigue over two weeks of alpine ski training

Bacharach D. W. and K. J. Bacharach

Speed and ability as modulating factors of the Flow experience while skiing on prepared slopes

Brandauer T., V. Senner and J. Woitschell

Rotations, 3D equilibrium, and force-aft torques in alpine skiing

Brown C. A. and R. LeMaster

Glucose homeostasis and cardiovascular disease biomarkers in older alpine skiers

Dela F., D. Niederseer, W. Patsch, C. Pirich, E. Müller and J. Niebauer

Determination of the competences of a ski coach with reference to the European Qualifications Framework

Deliens T., A. Caplin, K. Huts and E. Zinzen

Upper limb injuries and protective equipment usage: A snapshot from Australia

Dickson T. J., G. Waddington and S. Trathen

Effects of exercise dependence and sensation seeking on risk behavior in ski mountaineers

Doppelmayr M., S. Stabauer, E. Weber, T. Finkenzeller and G. Amesberger

Female alpine racers lived experiences of anterior cruciate ligament injury and return to skiing

Doyle-Baker P., E. Collins and K. Lawrence

Damped vibrations of alpine skis on inelastic foundations

Eberle R., P. Kaps, U. F. Oberegger, D. Heinrich, M. Mössner, K. Schindelwig, A. Niederkofler and W. Nachbauer

Quantitative assessment of skiing technique using Principal Component Analysis

Federolf P., R. Reid, M. Gilgien, P. Haugen and G. Smith

Does a skiing intervention influence the psycho-physiological reactivity and recovery of the elderly?

Finkenzeller T., G. Amesberger and E. Müller

Load-sensitive adhesion factor expression in the elderly with skiing: relation to fibre type and muscle strength

Flück M., N. Eyeang-Békalé, A. Héraud, G. Anne, M. Brogioli, M. Gimpl, O. Seynnes, J. Rittweger, J. Niebauer, E. Müller and M. Narici

Influencing factors on alpine skiing performance

Geissler U., K. Waibel, W. Maier, J. Scherr and B. Wolfarth

Physiological parameters of paraplegic skiing athletes in laboratory and field measurements

Goll M., M. S. F. Wiedemann, T. Münch and P. Spitzenpfeil

The anthropometric and physiological profiles in Spanish downhill skiing competitors

Gómez-López P. J., O. H. Rupérez, P. Ruiz de Almirón-Megías and C. Calderón Soto

3x2 Factorial model for Impulses to Change Direction in Alpine Skiing (ICDAS)

Haag H. and M. Holzweg

CRIPS – Crash Recognition and Injury Prevention in alpine Skiracing

Huber A., P. Spitzenpfeil, K. Waibel, D. Debus and E. Fozzy Moritz

Load training on instable surfaces – an important addition to traditional strength training programs for alpine skiers

Kibele A. and D. Behm

“Range of Performance” and “Functional analysis” of alpine skiing starts

Kröll J., N. Fürstauer, S. J. Lindinger and E. Müller

The effect of a ski boot intervention on knee joint loading in mogul skiing

Kurpiers N., P. McAlpine and U. G. Kersting

Spinal reflex plasticity in response to alpine skiing in the elderly

Lauber B., M. Keller, A. Gollhofer, E. Müller and W. Taube

Adaptation of vastii muscles in top skiers from different alpine skiing disciplines

Lešnik B., B. Šimunič, M. Žvan and R. Pišot

Calculated descent times for different radii in ski racing

Madura J. M., T. Lufkin and C. A. Brown

3D model reconstruction and analysis of athletes performing giant slalom

Meyer F. and F. Borrani

Relationship between physical fitness, ski technique and racing results of young alpine ski racers

Mildner E., M. Barth, G. Ehn, R. Kriebernegg, A. Staudacher and C. Raschner

The maximum negative power and force modulation during hard and soft landing in alpine skiers

Minetti A. E. and D. Susta

Relationship of physiological characteristics to competitive performance for junior high school and high school male alpine ski racers

Miura T. and M. Miura

SASES - Salzburg Skiing for Elderly Study. Health benefit of alpine skiing for elderly: study design and intervention.

Müller E., M. Gimpl, B. Pötzelsberger, T. Finkenzeller and P. Scheiber

Skeletal muscle remodeling with alpine skiing training in older individuals

Narici M. V., M. Flück, A. Kösters, M. Gimpl, A. Reifberger, O.R. Seynnes, J. Niebauer, J. Rittweger and E. Müller

SASES - Salzburg Skiing for Elderly Study: Changes in cardiovascular risk factors through skiing in the elderly

Niederseer D., E. Ledl-Kurkowski, K. Kvita, W. Patsch, F. Dela, E. Müller and J. Niebauer

Simulation of skiing turns with a multibody skier and a ski-snow interaction model

Oberegger U. F., P. Kaps, M. Mössner, D. Heinrich and W. Nachbauer

Power endurance changes in alpine ski racing

Patterson C., H.-P. Platzer and C. Raschner

3-D kinematic and kinetics analysis of slalom in elite skiers at the Bormio World Cup ski finals in 2008

Pozzo R., A. Canclini, G. Baroni, D. Benedetti and S. D’Ottavio

Development of a multi-axial mechatronic training and testing device for alpine ski racers

Raschner C., C. Patterson, M. Barth and A. Barth

Force and energy characteristics in competitive slalom

Reid R. C., M. Gilgien, P. Haugen, R. W. Kipp and G. Smith

SASES - Salzburg Skiing for Elderly Study: Influence of alpine skiing on aerobic capacity, strength & power in elderly

Scheiber P., M. Gimpl, S. Kirchner, J. Kröll, R. Jahnel, J. Niebauer, D. Niederseer and E. Müller

Energy expenditure of professional ski patrollers during patient transport

Seifert J. G., J. Portmann, D. P. Heil and S. J. Willis

Influence of alpine skiing training and sex on tendon mechanical properties in older individuals

Seynnes O. R., A. Kösters, M. Gimpl, A. Reifberger, D. Niederseer, J. Niebauer, E. Müller and M. V. Narici

Single-subject analysis methods for alpine skiing technique evaluation

Smith G., M. L. Rakai and R. Reid

Oxygen uptake during race-like alpine giant slalom skiing in relation to variables of the human power spectrum

Spirk S., G. Steiner, G. Tschakert, W. Groeschl, G. Schippinger and P. Hofmann

Current and novel aspects for prevention of knee injuries in alpine ski racing by using specially designed knee braces – A pilot study

Spitzenpfeil P., A. Huber, K. Waibel, S. Legath, E. F. Moritz, H. Semsch and P. U. Brucker

Differences in air drag among elite male alpine skiers

Supej M., L. Sætran, L. Oggiano, G. Ettema and H.-C. Holmberg

Acceleration of the head during alpine skiing

Swarén M., J. Danvind and H.-C. Holmberg

Somatotype and kinanthropometric characteristics of male and female junior and elite senior alpine skiers

Taeymans J., D. Aerenhouts, R. Clijsen, R. Fässler, P. Clarys and J.-P. Baeyens

Investigation on the snow penetration and the contacting pressure in the carved turn based on the actual measurement

Yoneyama T., H. Kagawa and K. Osada

Differences in the performance of ski elements carried out by top demonstrators

Žvan M., B. Lešnik and M. Supej


Automatic detection of technique during on snow cross-country skiing

Bortolan L., B. Pellegrini, F. Impellizzeri and F. Schena

Variation of cross-country ski characteristics

Breitschädel F.

3D kinematic of 3 strides in classical cross country skiing (XCS) technique during Word Cup races (2009-2010)

Canclini A., A. Canclini, G. Baroni and R. Pozzo

Determinants of both classic and skate cross country ski performance in competitive junior and collegiate skiers

Heil D. P. and S. J. Willis

How work economy changes during a summer season with roller skiing training and its influence on performance

Jensen K., M. Höök, L. Wedholm, G. Björklund and H.-C. Holmberg

Kick double poling technique - biomechanical factors that discriminate between skill levels in cross-country skiers

Lindinger S. J., C. Göpfert, H.-C. Holmberg and E. Müller

Multi-dimensional force measurement binding used during skating in cross-country skiing

Linnamo V., O. Ohtonen, T. Stöggl, P. Komi, E. Müller and S. Lindinger

Glycogen resynthesis rate following cross country skiing is closely correlated to skeletal muscle content

Ørtenblad N., J. Nielsen, B. Saltin and H.-C. Holmberg

Efficiency in cross-country skiing

Sandbakk Ø., G. Ettema and H.-C. Holmberg

Physiological responses of double pole ergometry: standing vs. sitting

Tervo J. L. and P. B. Watts

The effects of living high - training low altitude training on crosscountry skiers

Ušaj A., B. Štrumbelj and J. Vodičar

Can sprint skiing on an indoor track predict on-snow skate sprint performance in competitive skiers?

Willis S. J. and D. P. Heil


A wearable system assessing relevant characteristics of the take-off in ski jumping

Chardonnens J., J. Favre, F. Cuendet, G. Gremion and K. Aminian

Sensor based measurement of ski orientation angles in ski jumping

Kreibich S., S. Müller and A. Krüger

Optimization of the take-off in ski jumping

Müller S., R. Mahnke and A. Schleichardt

Aerodynamic forces acting on jumper during flight phase in ski jumping

Sasaki T., K. Tsunoda, H. Hoshino and H. Eguchi

Take-off force in ski jumping: age and gender differences

Yamamoto K., T. Takeda, Y. Kondo, M. Yoshida and M. Katayose

Detecting snowboarding moves with sensorized bindings

Holleczek T., A. Rüegg, H. Harms and G. Tröster

On-field evaluation of a novel snowboard binding system

Wolfsperger F., A. Krüger and J. Edelmann-Nusser

Determination of the competences of a snowboard coach

Zinzen E., J. Sondervorst, A. Caplin and T. Deliens


The Fifth International Congress on Science and Skiing was held at St. Christoph a. A., Tyrol, Austria. It was the follow up conference of three International Congresses on Skiing and Science, which were also held in St. Christoph a. A., Austria, in January 1996, in January 2000 and in December 2007 and of the International Congress on Science and Skiing, which was held in Aspen, Colorado, USA, in April 2004.

The conference was organized and hosted by the Department of Sport Science at the University os Salzburg, Austria, and by the Christian Doppler Laboratory “Biomechanics in Skiing”, Salzburg, Austria. It was also again part of the programmes of the steering group “Science in Skiing” of the World Commission of Sports Science.

The scientific programme offered a broad spectrum of current research work in Alpine and Nordic skiing and in snowboarding. The highlights of the congress were five keynote lectures. The scientific programme of the congress was completed by 2 work shops, 99 oral presentations and 66 poster presentations.

In the proceedings of this congress, three keynote lectures as well as most of the oral presentations are published. The manuscripts were subject to peer review and editorial judgement prior to acceptance.

We hope that these congress proceedings will again stimulate many of our colleagues throughout the world to enhance research in the field of skiing so that at the Sixth International Congress on Science and Skiing, which will be organized in the winter 2013/14, many new research projects will be presented.

Erich MüllerStefan LindingerThomas Stöggl

We would like to thank Elke Lindenhofer for the time and the enthusiasm she invested in the editing of this book.

Part One

Keynote Papers

Can a ban on doping in skiing be morally justified?

Loland S.

1    Introduction

As most other sports, skiing has had its doping cases with athletes using banned performance-enhancing means and methods. Cross country skiing has been particularly exposed, probably due to extensive possibilities of biomedical manipulation of a key quality in performance: endurance.

During the last two decades and with the 1999 establishment of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) as a decisive step, the struggle against doping has intensified and involves not just sport but also public authorities and governments. The struggle however is not without challenges. For instance, to draw the line between acceptable and non-acceptable performance-enhancing means and methods is a complex scientific and moral enterprise. Actually some scholars hold that the ban on doping in sport is problematic and even unjustifiable (Black & Pape 1997; Brown 1991; Tamburrini 2000; Savulescu et al 2004). And, as is evident from extensive doping cases, some athletes and coaches seem to accept and indeed practice doping (Waddington and Smith 2009).

What then are the core reasons to categorize and ban certain performance-enhancing means and methods as doping? With examples from skiing I will examine whether anti-doping can be properly justified from a moral point of view.

2    Methods

The approach is one of practical, normative ethics. I present a systematic and principled argument in which ethical dilemmas are examined on the background of relevant facts and examples. The approach is inspired by the methodology of reflective equilibrium as developed by John Rawls (1971). First, I will sketch how intuitively appealing arguments in support of the ban need modification. Second, I will propose a justification of a ban in which traditional and new arguments are combined in a systematic way.

Traditional arguments: fairness and health

A frequently used argument in support of anti-doping is that doping is unfair. The underlying understanding of fairness seems to be a neo-Kantian one: Fairness is a moral obligation on rule adherence that arises when we are voluntarily engaged in rule-governed practices (Rawls 1971). Skiers using EPO or anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) break the rules to get an exclusive advantage. For doping to be efficient, dopers depend upon the rule adherence of others. In this way dopers enjoy the benefits of the cooperation of others without doing their fair share. They are free riders of the sports system and treat other competitors as means only in the striving towards their own success. Skiers who are not caught get away with a rule violation and an exclusive and unfair advantage. They cheat.

The fairness argument however does not really help in the justification of the doping ban itself. We cannot justify a rule by reference to the wrongness of breaking it. What is at stake here is the very rationale for banning doping in sport. In fact, the fairness argument is sometimes used to support lifting the doping ban (Tamburrini 2000). If a significant number of skiers break the rules without being caught, a minority of rule-abiding skiers has a disadvantage. Morality does not pay. The situation is unjust and the obligation of fairness becomes problematic. To restore justice, an alternative could be to make all kinds of performance-enhancing means and methods open to all.

Stronger arguments in favor of anti-doping can be found in the view of doping as a health hazard and as implying a significant risk of harm. Although solid scientific evidence might be lacking in some cases, there are strong indications that extensive use of EPO and AAS implies serious health risks and even the risk of death.

The problem with this argument is that practicing elite sport in general involves significant risks of harm. Long-term and hard training implies a constant balancing of the anabolic and catabolic processes of the body. Imbalances can result in overtraining and injuries. Similarly, the intensity of competition can lead to acute injury. In events such as ski jumping and downhill skiing, the taking and calculation of risk can be considered part of the skill test. There is always the possibility for serious harm. An argument on banning doping due to health risks could be developed into a more general argument on banning elite skiing and elite sport as a whole.

This conclusion is unreasonable however as no distinctions are made on the relevance of health risks as related to the values of sport. Health is not the primary value in all circumstances. Risks of harm must be weighed against other values. Athletes take their chances in training and competition. In elite skiing there is a strong drive to improve, to realize athletic potential, to test the potential of talent. The challenge of the training process is to strike the optimal balance between anabolic and catabolic processes. The challenge of competing is to put in the necessary effort to succeed and at the same time be smart and avoid injuries. One of the important challenges in ski jumping and downhill skiing is the proper calculation and taking of risk. Health risks linked to doping seem to be of a different kind. Why?

The nature of athletic performance

An idea often expressed by sport leaders and athletes is that drug-enhanced performance comes about without training and individual effort. The enhancement is somehow ‘undeserved’. Doping is considered ‘unnatural’ and ‘artificial’, and the risk involved, therefore, is considered unnecessary and non-relevant.

The problem is that ideas of the ‘natural’ and the ‘artificial’ are to a large extent social and cultural constructions that change over time. There are countless examples of what was considered ‘unnatural’ yesterday has become common practice today. During most of the 20th century there was a strong resistance against women’s sports as ‘against nature’ (Guttmann 1991). At least in the Nordic countries, the introduction in the 1970s of weight training among cross-country skiers resulted in strong protests as such training was considered ‘artificial’ and against the ideals of the sport (Bomann-Larsen, 1993).

The idea of drug-enhanced performance as contradictory to sport values and somehow undeserved indicates that the question of anti-doping goes straight to the heart of discourses of the meaning and value of sport. A moral stand point towards doping needs to build on interpretations of what sport or more precisely what athletic performances are all about.

An athletic performance is the complex product of a high number of genetic and non- genetic influences from the moment of conception to the moment of performance. As with all human phenotypes, a clear-cut distinction between genetic and environmental factors is impossible. For analytic purposes however the distinction makes sense (Loland 2002).

Genetic factors refer to the predispositions for developing relevant phenotypes for good performances in a sport. A person with good predispositions is usually characterized as a ‘talent’. Cross-country skiing talents are predisposed for developing endurance. Alpine skiing talents are predisposed for developing fine tuned motor action and strength. Talent in this sense is distributed in the so-called natural lottery and based on chance.

Athletes develop talent through gene–gene–environment interaction. These are influences from the very first nurture via development of general abilities and skills, to specific training and the learning of the particular techniques and tactics of a sport. Environmental influences are based in part on chance and luck. Successful skiers have favorable genetic predispositions and are often raised close to a skiing resort with good coaches and instructors. No elite performance however comes about without own strong effort. Athletes realize their talent through hard training over many years. Competitive sport is primarily meritocratic in kind.

The critical question is whether all kinds of inequalities linked to performance (including those caused by performance-enhancing drugs) are of relevance in skiing, or whether some inequalities ought to be eliminated or compensated for. In what follows, and based on previous work (Loland 2001, 2009), I will critically review two main positions in this respect.

The thin interpretation

From the perspective of the thin interpretation of athletic performance, ‘anything goes’. Within the competition itself there are rules to be kept such as those against hands in soccer, or kicking in handball, or using violence against other athletes in cross-country skiing events. These are constitutive rules that make up the sport. Without constitutive rules athletic performances cannot be evaluated at all.

Restrictions on performance enhancement outside of competitions, however, for instance in the form of amateur rules or the current ban on drugs, are considered irrelevant. In the thin interpretation sport is seen to be about the maximization of human performance potential with whatever means athletes find appropriate. The view is often linked to anti-paternalistic conceptualizations of autonomy and individual freedom and responsibility (Tamburrini 2000).

On the critical side thin interpretations can be seen as sociologically naive and contra-productive (Loland, 2001). No athlete is an island with full freedom to choose but a part of complex social networks and power relations. Without out-of-competition regulations, athletes easily become even more dependent upon external expertise than what is the situation today. The control over and responsibility for performance is moved gradually from athletes and teams towards external expert systems. According to critics, this goes against the idea of athletes as free and responsible moral agents and puts athletes in a vulnerable position. Elite skiing might turn into something like grand scientific experiments of human performance with athletes as the guinea pigs. Sport loses its value as an admirable sphere for the cultivation of human talent.

The thick interpretation

The alternative is a thick interpretation in which a similar concern for athlete autonomy, freedom and responsibility leads to further regulations. Inequalities in genetic predispositions for performance based on chance are not just or unjust in themselves. Ethical problems can arise however by the way these inequalities are interpreted and understood in human practice. A general principle integrated in many moral theories, ‘the fair opportunity principle’ (FOP), goes as follows:

Persons should not be treated unequally based on inequalities that they cannot influence or control in any significant way and for which they therefore cannot be claimed responsible.

In democratic societies, the distribution of basic goods and burdens are built upon this principle to a large extent. For example, physical and mental handicaps or other unfortunate conditions in life for which individuals cannot be held responsible are compensated for by financial support and integrative efforts in work and leisure.

FOP seems to have implications in sport and for the doping discussion as well (Loland 2009). The rule systems of sport include many attempts to eliminate or at least compensate for a series of inequalities with impact on performance but upon which the individual has little influence or control. Athletes are classified according to sex, age, and sometimes body size. In skiing events female athletes do not compete with male athletes, as there seems to be significant inequalities in genetic predispositions for strength and endurance to the advantage of men. Mixed competitions seem unfair. Sport seems to cultivate inequalities upon which individuals can have impact and influence, in particular by own efforts. Sport rewards individual and team effort, merit and responsibility. Murray (2007) proposes a normative ideal of sport as being about the admirable development of natural talents. From the thick interpretation perspective, athletic performances are admired as strong expressions of human perfectionism [There is of course much room for improvement of fair opportunity in sport. In some sports, there is a need for more classification, other sports seem to classify too much. For instance, in basketball and volleyball where body height is crucially important, there is a rationale for classification according to height. In ski jumping, biological sex may be irrelevant to performance, and perhaps sex classification can be abandoned. Current inequalities in performance are due to socialization and a lower emphasis on female ski jumping, not biology. Moreover, a systematic application of FOP would have radical consequences for the regulation of inequalities in financial, scientific, and technological resources. In skiing one possibility would be to increase the standardization of skis bases and ski preparation. Today inequalities in ski quality are of decisive impact to competitive outcomes. This discussion however belongs to a more extensive debate about fairness in sport that is beyond the scope of this short essay.].

Doping revisited

Let me now return to the case of doping. Whereas a thin interpretation implies rejection of regulations of performance-enhancing means and methods outside of competition, thick interpretation implications are different. Drugs are biochemical substances with ergogenic effects such as EPO, or anabolic effects such as AAS. Some substances are agonists. They mimic the action of substances that occur naturally in the body. Others have antagonist effects. They are not produced by the body and prevent biochemical agents produced in the body to interact with their receptors (beta-blockers). In general, it can be said that drugs interact with their biological targets and lead to changes in the biochemical systems of the body.

To a certain extent it makes sense, then, to say that doping enhances performance independent of talent and without individual athletic effort. Inequalities due to doping are not the results of chance or luck, neither are they expressions of athletic merit. Performance-enhancing effects of drugs therefore can be considered non-relevant to sport. To legalize doping would decrease athletes’ responsibility for their performances, often in favor of an external expert system, and hence to reduce athletes’ potential of acting as free and responsible moral agents. The potential for sport as a sphere of admirable human perfectionism would decrease. From the thick interpretation perspective, the use of performance-enhancing drugs implies unnecessary and non-relevant health risks and should be banned.

Based on this premise the fairness argument becomes valid, too. The ban on drugs is justified without reference to the wrongness of breaking it. Dopers violate the rules to get an exclusive advantage. For their drug use to be efficient they rely upon the rule adherence of others without doing their fair share. They cheat and therefore doping is unfair. If the situation is unjust in the sense that several dopers are not caught and get away with an unfair advantage, the problem is not the doping ban but the weakness of the control system.

3    Concluding comments

I have argued that the doping issue goes straight to the heart of questions of the value and meaning of sport. Justification of anti-doping cannot be based on fairness and health arguments alone but ultimately on a normative view of sport. In my view the thick interpretation of athletic performance is the stronger one in this respect.

The proposed justification of anti-doping does by no means solve all problems in the field. There are a series of practical, financial and judicial challenges that have not been addressed here. Moreover, a ban will always meet the challenges of distinguishing between acceptable and non-acceptable performance-enhancing means and methods. The doping field is loaded with gray areas and there is need for systematic and good casuistry to navigate in informed and reasonable ways. This implies walking back and forth between general principles and the particularities of the means or methods under consideration.

The anti-doping movement puts an emphasis on the development of facts and tests. This paper demonstrates that a justification of anti-doping necessarily has to build on a normative view of sport. It is an attempt, then, to strengthen the normative premises of anti-doping which again may facilitate even better casuistry and reasoning schemes in the future.


This text is a slightly adapted version of Loland, S.: Can the Ban on Doping in Sport be Morally Justified? in Savulescu, J.; ter Meulen, R. and Kahane, G. (eds.) (2011): Enhancing Human Capacities. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 326-331.


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Challenges and issues in ski jumping biomechanics

Schwameder H.

Department of Sport Science and Kinesiology, University of Salzburg, Austria CD Laboratory ‘Biomechanics in Skiing’

1    Introduction

Ski jumping is very specific and unique. One important aspect is that ski jumping is almost exclusively performed as a competitive sport. It needs spacious and expensive facilities (including jumping hill, chair-lift, judges’ tower etc.) as well as very high and specific organizational demands. Depending on the hill size the performance time only lasts between 6 and 12 seconds. The competition consists of two runs only. In a common session of hill training around six trials are performed leading to a ratio between ‘performance time’ and ‘rest time’ of about 1:120. These circumstances make high quality training regimes, including dry-land training in terms of conditioning and specific coordination training, necessary. Additionally, research on biomechanics, motor control and training theory can provide a substantial support for accordingly improving the quality of training and the performance in ski jumping. A substantial number of studies regarding biomechanical issues of ski-jumping have already been published. The papers primarily deal with aspects related to performance enhancement, limiting factors of the take-off, specific hill and dry-land training and conditioning, aerodynamics and safety. The methodologies used in the corresponding experimentally oriented papers are kinematics, ground reaction force (GRF) analyses, electromyography, wind tunnel measurements and computer simulation. The research covers both competition and training in hill jumps and dry-land training in imitated take-offs (Fig. 1; Schwameder, 2008; 2009).

Fig. 1:    Biomechanical research papers on ski jumping. The thickness of the arrows present the number of publications with respect to methodology and research situation (hill jumps, imitated take-offs, training).

2    Experimental research, biomechanical methodology and selected results

Experimental biomechanical research can be performed on different levels. This is schematically presented in the ‘pyramid’ in Fig. 2. The basis is built by the detection and analysis of singular physical components. In ski jumping this could be the determination of the maximal force or the rate of force development of the knee extensors. The next higher level is the analysis of singular coordination components. General jumping tasks could be appropriate representatives for this category in ski jumping. This is followed by very specific exercises mimicking the ‘real’ performance tasks. This is better known as imitation exercises. They are commonly used if the number of performing real competitive motor tasks is restricted or if specific components of ‘real’ tasks should be pronounced. In ski jumping imitation exercises are widely used in coordination and conditioning training. Chapter 3 will provide more detailed information on this. The following level is the analysis of competitive motor tasks under training conditions. In this case still measurement devices can be used which would not be allowed during competitions. The top of this pyramid is built by the research during competitions. In ski jumping video technique and force plates implemented into the take-off table are examples for measurement methodology usable during competitions.

The different levels of research area presented here also show various quality of internal and external validity moving generally in opposite directions. The highest external validity only can be achieved in measurements during competition. At any lower level the external validity is reduced as only parts of the competition exercises or only singular coordinative or physical components are investigated. On the other hand, the latter can be much better controlled leading to a high level of internal validity. As on higher levels of the pyramid the research conditions cannot be sufficiently controlled, internal validity can be substantially reduced.

Fig. 2:    Levels (1-5) of experimental biomechanical research with related external and internal validity.

Biomechanical ski jumping research is dominated by using the classical methodology kinematics, dynamics and electromyography. Table 1 presents an overview on the usability of the methodologies with respect to the different levels of experimental biomechanical research (Fig. 2).

Within the kinematic methodology the video technique plays the major role in ski jumping research. In principle, video technique can be used in all levels of experimental research and can be applied in both ways, with fixed and with panned/tilted camera configurations (Virmavirta et al. 2005; Schwameder & Müller, 1995). Another kinematic methodology is based on initial measurement units (IMUs) consisting of a combination of gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers. They have already been successfully used for measuring the orientation of body segments over the entire hill jump (Chardonnens et al., 2010). Force plates measuring ground reactions forces in three dimensions are widely used for imitated take-offs and performance diagnostics. Pressure insoles are commonly used for determining ground reaction force in both hill jumps and imitated take-offs (Virmavirta & Komi, 2001; Virmavirta et al., 2001; Schwameder, 2007). Several take-off platforms are already instrumented with force plate systems for measuring ground reaction forces perpendicular to the platform in hill jumps. Due to the high importance of aerodynamic forces in ski jumping their determination in wind tunnel experiments has a very long tradition and is still widely used for improving the flight position, but also for measuring the effect of specific equipment (suits, helmet, skis, binding) on the aerodynamics in ski jumping. Surface EMG is commonly used for investigating muscle activation and muscle coordination patterns both in hill jumps and imitated take-offs.

Tab. 1:   Biomechanical methodology used in ski jumping research on the different levels of experimental scientific work (see Fig. 2). +: possible and plausible, o: possible, but not necessary

3    Imitated take-offs

Imitated take-offs are commonly used in ski jumping conditioning and coordination training as well as in performance diagnostics. Usually they are performed as dryland exercises from static or quasi-static in-run positions with a subsequent take-off movement imitating the take-off in hill jumps (Fig. 3). In elite jumpers imitated take-offs show very high consistency in terms of reproducibility and variations (e.g. in-run position, underground, additional tasks) can be implemented and performed easily. Imitated take-offs suppose to have very high coordinative affinity to hill jumps. If one looks at the boundary conditions (aerodynamics, friction, duration) between imitated take-offs and hill jumps carefully, however, this assumption has to be challenged.

Fig. 3:    Kinematic sequence of an imitated take-off

It has to be considered that the boundary conditions of hill jumps and imitated take-offs differ substantially. While the friction between the skis and the ground (snow, porcelain) are close to zero and the drag is high in hill-jumps, in imitated take-offs the situation is vice-versa: high friction between the boots and the ground and no drag (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4:    Aerodynamic drag and friction in hill jumps and imitated take-offs

Fig. 5:    Direction of intended and actual force application in hill jumps and imitated take-offs

Due to drag the directions of the intended and the actual force application differ substantially in hill jumps (Fig. 5a). Hence, the direction of the actual force application in hill jumps is highly restricted based on the low friction between the skis and the track and is orientated more or less perpendicular to the track (Fig. 5b). In imitated take-offs the intended direction of force application coincides with the actual one (Fig. 5c). More specifically, the intended movements (perception of movement) in terms of force application are identical in hill jumps and imitated take-offs, the kinematics and kinetics of both jumps, however, differ substantially (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6:    Intended movement (perception of movement) and kinematics and kinetics of performed movement in hill jumps and imitated take-offs

Furthermore, the duration of the take-off in hill jumps (250-300 ms) and imitated take-offs (400-500 ms) differs. As reported previously (Schwameder, 2008; 2009), these time differences are caused by an incomplete knee extension at release in hill jumps, the lift supporting take-off in hill jumps, the different footwear used and, finally, the differing preparation for take-off.

In spite of the discrepancies reported, imitated take-offs can be used reasonably in ski-jumping specific technique and coordination training. The specific relevance of these exercises can be increased if they are combined with performance diagnostics measurements (Schwameder, 2007). Coaches, athletes and supporting researchers, however, have to consider the presented and discussed aspects regarding the biomechanical and motor control differences between hill jumps and imitated take-offs in order to optimize the quality of training and ski jumping performance.

4    Biomechanical research within a complex network

Ski jumping is a very complex sport covering different aspects interacting and interfering with each other. The most important of these items are: performance, safety, health, fairness, social aspects, ethics and economy (Fig. 7). Research work in ski jumping deals with one or more of these aspects. Biomechanics research is unique in this context as it covers all of the named items (with distinguished deepness with regards of content) and is able to provide answers to both basic and applied research questions. Currently the following topics are widely discussed among athletes, coaches and researchers: material and equipment, BMI regulation, wind factor, gate factor and women ski jumping (Fig. 8). It will be briefly discussed how biomechanical research can help to support the discussion on these topics with respect to the items in Fig. 7 on a scientific level.

Fig. 7:    Complex network of items in ski jumping and biomechanics as one of the centres in this network

Fig. 8:    Currently discussed topics in ski jumping

Material and equipment (including skis, bindings, suits, gloves and helmet) obviously determine ski jumping performance substantially. Consequently, a vast compendium of regulation exists in order to provide similar conditions for each individual jumper as good as possible. This issue is directly connected with fairness, safety and health and also covers ethical aspects. But material and equipment issues also have social components, specifically within a national team and also between teams. Finally, regulations on material and equipment influence the production process of the diverse items and cover therefore also economical aspects.

The BMI regulation has been established several years ago for protecting ski jumpers from extreme weight loss and is based on biomechanical research including anthropometric and kinematic investigations. It has severe impact on health, performance, fairness and ethical aspects. The social aspect of the BMI regulation covers both the weight issue within a team and the responsibility of the society with respect to the health of the athletes. Safety and economical aspects only play a minor role on this topic.

Wind and gate factor are also based on biomechanical research including sophisticated mathematical models. These regulations have been established in order to compensate for changing wind conditions. Consequently, these issues are directly linked to performance, fairness and ethics. Wind and gate factor also have impacts on safety and health aspects, but clearly with minor importance compared to the others. The social aspect must not be neglected as the regulations might cover tactical issues and has substantial impact on the attractiveness of ski jumping for spectators. Finally, the wind and gate factor regulations allow continuing competitions even in case of changing wind conditions within a run. This has important economical effects on handling competitions in general, but also for TV broadcasting with the consequence of making ski jumping even more attractive for on-site and TV spectators.

Women ski jumping already has a long tradition. In 2009 it was the first time that women competed at the Nordic Skiing World Championships and in 2014 women ski jumping will be part of the Olympic Programme the first time. This, of course, has an important social and ethical impact and will further improve the attractiveness of ski jumping in the society (Hofmann et al, 2010). It also has an important economical aspect as the capacity of the jumping hill facilities and broadcasting times can be improved both for training and competitions. The issues of performance, fairness, safety and health in women ski jumping play a similar role as for the well established ski jumping in men.

It is very important to discuss the questions and problems of the presented issues and topics on an evidenced based level. Biomechanical research is one of the key areas to provide the required information both for the singular items and within the complex network presented previously.


Chardonnens, J., Favre, J., Cuendet, F., Gremion, G., and Aminian, K. (2010). Analysis of stable flight in ski jumping based on parameters measured with a wearable system. In R. Jensen, W. Ebben, E. Petushek, C. Richter & K. Roemer (eds). Proceedings of the 28. International Symposium on Biomechanics in Sports, (pp. 273-276). Marquette: Northern Michigan University.

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Schwameder, H. (2007). Current and future aspects of ski-jumping biomechanics. In V. Linnamo, P. Komi & E. Müller (eds.), Science and Nordic Skiing, (pp. 225-236). Oxford: Meyer & Meyer Sport.

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Schwameder, H. (2009). Biomechanische Forschung im Skisprung – ein Überblick. Spectrum der Sportwissenschaften, 21,1, 68-95.

Virmavirta, M., and Komi, P. V. (2001). Plantar pressure and EMG activity of simulated and actual ski jumping take-off. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport, 11, 310-314.

Virmavirta, M., Perttunen, J., and Komi. P. V. (2001). EMG activities and plantar pressures during ski jumping take-off on three different sized hills. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 11, 141-147.

Virmavirta, M., Isolehto, J., Komi, P. V., Brüggemann, G. P., Müller, E., and Schwameder, H. (2005). Characteristics of the early flight phase in the Olympic ski jumping competition. Journal of Biomechanics, 38, 2157-2163.

Competitive Alpine Skiing: Combining strength and endurance training: molecular bases and applications

Vogt M. and H. Hoppeler

Institute of Anatomy, University of Bern, Switzerland


The expressed muscle tissue phenotypes exhibit a significant and can adapt to changes in demand with specific structural and functional changes. Classically, we distinguish between endurance training (low load – high repetitive stimulus) and strength training (high load – low repetitive). These two training modalities represent the extremes of a continuum of exercise protocols of countless options differing in load, duration, frequency and mode of contraction as well as any combination thereof. Any exercise carried out is characterized by a specific blend of stressors to which muscle tissue is subjected when activated. We have distinguished mechanical load, hormonal adjustment, neuronal activation and metabolic disturbance as the main identifiable stressors. Each of these stressors is linked to several signaling pathways in muscle cells which carry information about the external circumstances under which muscle activity is carried out. These signals have a dual purpose. They serve to reestablish myocellular homoeostasis disrupted by muscle activity. However, they also serve to modify muscle tissue with the consequence of making muscle tissue more competent in dealing with similar stress in the future. In the strength training situation we typically find mechanical load to be the dominant stressor. In endurance training, mechanical load is low but metabolic disturbance, neuronal activation as well as hormonal adjustments usually persist over longer time periods. The presentation of the molecular changes with endurance and strength training is a very short summary of a review recently published in Comprehensive Physiology [14]. For an in depth discussion of the mechanisms and pathways outlined below, this review should be consulted.

Endurance Training; In endurance exercise, signaling results in a coordinated transcriptional up-regulation of a multitude of genes involved in the endurance response. The coordinated muscle transcriptional up-regulation of structure genes results in accretion of specific muscle proteins enabling muscle to function on a higher level of mechanical and metabolic performance. It is highly likely that exercise associated Ca2+ (calcium) signaling as well as an altered skeletal muscle energy status, sensed by the AMPK (adenosine-5’-monophosphate-activated protein kinase) system are the major input determinants to the signaling network in humans. ROS (reactive oxygen species)/redox signaling as well as hypoxia sensing may serve to modify and fine tune the generic muscle endurance response according to environmental cues and intensities. The signaling process is sensitive to substrate availability, whereby fatty acids rely on the PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor) system whereas glycogen content directly modulates AMPK signaling. Exercise related elevated circulating epinephrine levels are suggested to be important for the induction of angiogenesis. All regulatory pathways converge on the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1α (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor y, co-activator 1α) which in itself does not recognize specific DNA sequences but rather binds and activates multiple transcription factors and nuclear receptors. PGC-1α can recruit chromatin remodeling complexes [17] thus facilitating transcription; it further interacts with the splicing machinery thereby coordinating transcriptional as well as posttranscriptional processes. PGC-1α can be seen as an integrator of muscle tissue phenotype in response to activity, hormonal and nutritional cues

Strength Training

Subjecting skeletal muscles to repetitive high mechanical stress leads to muscle hypertrophy. Unlike endurance training that modifies muscle structure mainly by changes in gene expression, strength type training primarily invokes enhanced translation. The key component and major integrator of multiple signaling cascades is mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). There are three major activators of mTOR. Insulin and GH (growth hormone) dependent growth factors act through the IGF-R (insulin receptor) – Akt (Protein kinase B, PKB) pathway. Mechanical stress (relayed partially through integrins) signals through Akt dependent and Akt independent pathways. Nutritional cues, particularly the presence of leucin and other essential amino acids are directly sensed by mTOR. Activated mTOR increases protein synthesis, both through translation initiation and elongation. There are two important negative regulators of mTOR. A low cellular energy status decreases mTOR activation via AMPK. Myostatin, a major muscle procachectic factor, can repress mTOR directly and indirectly. As protein synthesis dependent hypertrophic growth of skeletal muscle tissue is limited by nuclear domain size, muscle fiber growth beyond 20% must be supported by recruitment of satellite cells. Androgens have been shown to interfere with multiple signaling pathways involved in enhancing muscle cellular metabolism as well as muscle growth and inhibiting apoptosis.

Interactions between endurance and strength training

Hickson [13] was the first to systematically analyze the adaptational outcome of strength and endurance exercise alone and in combination. He showed that simultaneous training for strength and endurance resulted in a reduced capacity to develop strength but did not compromise the increase in VO2max. This is not surprising in view of the fact that there are distinct molecular pathways responsible for the training adaptations in strength and endurance as outlined above. There have been several reviews covering molecular aspects of concurrent training for strength and endurance [2, 3, 10, 18]. As reviewed by Nader [18], compromised neuronal activation, low glycogen content, diverging fiber type transformations and overtraining have all been implicated to be involved in reducing strength development in concurrent strength and endurance training protocols but these assertions fail to explain satisfyingly the observed phenomena. It has been observed that sustained dynamic exercise results in decreased protein synthesis and increased protein degradation; the latter being compensated in long-term training [20]. Exposing cyclists and power lifters to strength training and an endurance type exercise session mainly demonstrated an attenuation of the molecular training response in the training session concordant with training history but a retained capacity to respond to the alternative training stimuli [6]. The current data indicates that acute concurrent training of endurance and strength training leads to compromised activation of anabolic and aerobic training responses (see Fig. 1). The interference of strength and endurance training on a molecular level therefore supports the tendency in elite sport to dedicate entire training periods to specific training modes. This is of particular interest in sports that require both a high competence in strength and endurance such as alpine skiing, decathlon or American Football.

Fig. 1:    Simplified model of the molecular interference of endurance and strength training. AMPK (endurance) and mTOR (strength) activity are thought to be the main points of divergence with concurrent endurance and strength exercise training. Consult glossary and “Interactions between endurance and strength training” paragraph for details [from 14, with permission by Springer-Verlag GmbH, Heidelberg].

Physiological characterization of elite alpine skiers

Modern competitive alpine skiing is characterized by high-intensity exercise of between 60 and 150 s duration that requires repeated phases of high-force isometric and eccentric contractions [9], [4]. On a muscular level a preponderance of slow twitch fiber recruitment is observed during competitive skiing. Due to high energy demand the cardiovascular system is almost taxed maximally, blood lactate accumulates to very high levels and muscle glycogen store depletion is important [25]. Our data show that nowadays successful male elite alpine skiers are heavy (80 to 90 kg), lean (body fat content below 10%) and very muscular. They are characterized by high strength and endurance capacities [1], [19].

From a muscle physiological perspective a successful skier will be able to sustain very high power generation over the whole duration of a race. To tax for this specific demand competitive alpine extensively train their physical capacities during their summer preparation period to improve muscle strength and oxidative capacity. Muscle oxidative capacity and maximal systemic aerobic energy supply are reflected by VO2max [8]. For world class alpine skiers VO2max is between 55-60 ml/min/kg or 4.5 to 5 l/min in absolute terms [19]. As aerobic energy production become important for high-intensity tasks of almost 45 s duration, it is not astonishing that VO2max in absolute terms is very good related to ski specific performance (Fig 2).

Fig. 2:    Significant correlation between VO2max and FIS-points for male skiers of Swiss-Ski tested during preparation period of season 2002-2003.

High intensity training (HIT)

In elite sports the effectiveness of physical training depends very much on the exercise intensity and periodization of endurance and strength exercise bouts [15]. Therefore, already trained athletes can improve VO2max most efficiently and effectively when exercising at almost maximal intensity. During the last few years, high-intensity aerobic interval training and high-intensity intermittent training protocols have evolved to be very efficient to improve VO2max [11]. For these HIT-protocols the goal is to achieve an exercise intensity of 90 to 95% of maximal heart-rate for as long as possible. Aerobic interval training is performed as four 4-minute exercise bouts which are interspersed by 3-minute active break. In intermittent training, athletes perform series of 15-seconds work bouts alternated by 15-seconds active break. Compared to sustained exercise, these HIT work bouts can be performed at higher speed, lead to reduced feeling of muscle fatigue and tax the cardiovascular system almost maximally. In endurance sports and according to the polarized training concept [21], it is recommended to perform in average two to three HIT-sessions per week where as all other endurance sessions are performed in the low intensity training zone. But HIT is also a promising concept to improve endurance for technically and strength orientated sports, when training time is very rare. Helgerud et al [11] studied the effect of 4 by 4 HIT-sessions in junior soccer players. Performing 16 HIT-sessions within 8 weeks improved VO2max (+11%), anaerobic threshold (+16%), running economy (+7%) as well as soccer specific performance.

Block periodization of HIT

In many sports training is performed according to a mixed periodization concept, in which different tasks are trained in parallel over different training cycles. On the elite level volume and intensity of training become very high leading to high training loads and on a muscular level to inhibitory interference of different tasks [7]. This can especially be the case in alpine skiing when frequent and high training loads are applied on endurance and strength tasks. This mixed periodization concept has mixed effects on performance outcome but can easily lead to training monotony, strong accumulation of fatigue, stagnation of performance development and increased risk for overtraining [15]. Block periodization, meaning a sequencing of specific training tasks (eg. endurance, strength) into mesocylce-blocks, seems to be an alternative concept in which highly concentrated workloads are focused on a minimal of motor and technical abilities [15]. Anecdotaly this block periodization concept has been implemented in various elite sports producing outstanding athletic achievements [15].

We [5] and others [23], [22] applied the concept of block periodization by condencing 12 to 15 HIT-sessions into a one to two weeks training period. In our control group designed study we investigated the effect 15 four by four HIT-sessions performed within 11 days in junior alpine skiers. Only for the HIT-training group, we found improvements in VO2max (+6%), maximal (+5.5%) and ventilatory threshold power output (+9.6%), when measured 7 days after the HIT-block [5]. 90s high-box jump performance was only increased in male athletes (+4.9%), who experienced a significant higher improvement of VO2max (+7.5%) compared to female athletes (+2.2%). These functional adaptations were paralleled by significant improvements of maximal cardiac output, stroke volume, blood volume, haemoglobin mass, muscle oxidative enzyme activity and a 17% increase in muscle glycogen stores. No changes were found for muscle glycolytic enzyme activity. A significant reduction of maximal power during counter movement jumps while jump height remained unchanged indicate for some residual muscle fatigue 7 days after the HIT-block.

Integrating HIT [12], eccentric exercise [24], [16], block periodization [15] and the polarized training concept [21] into a summer training period of world class alpine skiers led to outstanding improvements of endurance performance (VO2max: +11%, maximal power output: +8%) and strength (maximal isometric strength: +15%, strength power: +9%) within three months only.

In summary, block periodization of endurance and strength training is new and promising concept to further improve physical performance in elite alpine skiers. To boost VO2max HIT can efficiently be applied in elite alpine skiers. Per HIT-session, a VO2max increase of 0.5-1% can be expected. From ours and other studies it can be concluded that HIT can be applied successfully in mixed or block periodization training cycles.


The authors gratefully acknowledge yearlong support of the Swiss National Science Foundation, the University of Bern, the Eidgenössische Sportkommission, the Schweizerische Stiftung für die Erforschung der Muskelkrankheiten and of Swiss Ski.


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Part Two

Alpine Skiing

Event-specific somatotype and physical characteristics of male and female elite alpine skiers

Aerenhouts D.1, R. Clijsen1,2, R. Fässler2, P. Clarys1 and J. Taeymans1,2

1Department of Human Biometry and Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

2University College Physiotherapy Thim van der Laan, Landquart, Switzerland

1    Introduction