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Wax: The key to snowboarding and skiing


ncharles

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Here in the North East, skiing and snowboarding is popular activity that many people participate in. However, most people don't think about the gobs of physics behind gliding or falling down the hill. For the more skilled skiers and snowboarders, the experience of tumbling down the slope is not very present in their time on the mountain. So, the main physics behind their ride is friction and gravity. Obviously, gravity allows them to move and accelerate down the mountain. However, what many people don't think about is friction. Although very small, the friction between the bottom of the board and the snow actually plays a large roll in the speed of the person. The main factor to decreasing the friction is coating the bottom of the board in wax. This makes the board ever smoother and decreases the coefficient of friction between the snow. Without this, the board has a tendency to reach a maximum velocity and not speed up after that, which for people who want to go very fast, is not appealing. So next time you go hit the slopes, make sure you wax you skis or board to go as fast as possible.

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