Birth, history and records of speed ski

Speed ski is the Formula One of ski: in less than six seconds one accelerates from 0 to 200 km/h (the world record is 252.454km/h), an incredible speed on two legs and a pair of ski.
There are two competitions: the World Cup organized by the FIS, and a professional one, which, originally comprised of two or three races, in recent years it has been reduced to a single event to hunt the record.


The curiosity to know how you could go faster was born in the ’30s: the Austrian Gustav Lantschner was the first to exceed the speed of 100 km/h. In St Moritz he reached a speed of 105.675 km/h. In the year 1931 it was the turn of Leo Gasperl to push the record to 136 km/h and keep it for a long time due to the Second World War that stopped all sport activities. Zeno Colo’s record (159.292 km/h) came in 1947 in Breuil-Cervinia, where speed ski celebrated its heyday with the annual hunt for the record in July until 1978. Luigi Di Marco in 1964 reached 174.757 km/h, Masaro Morishita 183.392 km/h (1970), Alberto Casse  184.144 km/h (1971), Pino Meynet 194.384 km/h (1975); Finally Steve McKinney in 1978 arrived at 198.020 km/h and a few months later in Portillo he became the first man to surpass the speed of 200 km/h with 200.22.

After the end of the Breuil-Cervinia era begins the French era with Les Arc where in 1992 speed ski was a demonstration sport during the Olympic Games and Vars where I hit 252.454 km/h in 2014.

A racing track (twenty in all the world, although at this time we compete only on six of them) must have at least three points of departure (staggered), the timing area always has a length of 100 meters, the braking area must have a continuously decreasing slope and end with no more than 6% decline. The snow surface must be smooth throughout the whole track and meticulously prepared, with unobstructed safety areas on the sides with a size of  about 20 meters wide.

With wind speeds above 15 km/h the race must be stopped. An athlete may perform only two races with more than 230 km/h on the same day to prevent excessive heart and musculature stress.

Precise technical standards require the timing system to work with a precision of 1/1000 of a second. Participants must be at least 16 years old. Men must have reached a speed of 180 km/h and women 170 km/h previously. A medical certificate and insurance is mandatory.

As in many other disciplines also in Speed Ski the materials used are the primary subject for research to improve performance. Science and technology are indispensable allies to find new ways to ski faster. A very important task to improve performance is to study aerodynamic behavior in the wind tunnel. Great effort is done on the composition of ski waxes and slide faces to achieve maximum smoothness.

Regarding the clothing the main objective of research is to minimize air resistance. Suits are made of  polyurethane and polypropylene whereas helmets are made of glass fiber, carbon and kevlar, designed in a similar way as the nose cone of airplanes. Like them the helmet has to pierce the air which then passes along its body with a minimum of friction.

Listed below are all of the records from 1930 to present date.

1930 Saint Moritz (Svi) Gustav Lantschner (Aut) 105,675 km/h
1931 Saint Moritz (Svi) Cesare Chioga (Ita) 131,760 km/h
1931 Saint Moritz (Svi) Leo Gasperl (Aut) 136 km/h
1947 Cervinia (Ita) Leo Gasperl (Aut) e Rolando Zanni (Ita) 157 km/h
1947 Cervinia (Ita) Zeno Colò (Ita) 159,292 km/h
1959 Sestriere (Ita) Edoardo Agreiter (Ita) 160,765 km/h
1960 Cervinia (Ita) Luigi Di Marco (Ita) 163,265 km/h
1963 Cervinia (Ita) Alfredo Planger (Ita) 168,224 km/h
1963 Portillo (Cil) C.B. Vaughan (Usa) e Dick Dorwort (Usa) 171,428 km/h
1964 Cervinia (Ita) Luigi Di Marco (Ita) 174,757 km/h
1968 Cervinia (Ita) Kalevi Häkkinen (Fin) 172,331 km/h
1970 Cervinia (Ita) Masaro Morishita (Gia) 183,392 km/h
1971 Cervinia (Ita) Alessandro Casse (Ita) 184,144 km/h
1973 Cervinia (Ita) Alessandro Casse (Ita) 184,237 km/h
1974 Cervinia (Ita) Steve Mc Kinney (Usa) 189,473 km/h
1974 Cervinia (Ita) Steve Mc Kinney (Usa) 189,473 km/h
1975 Cervinia (Ita) Pino Meynet (Ita) 194,384 km/h
1976 Cervinia (Ita) Tom Simmons (Usa) 194,489 km/h
1978 Portillo (Cil) Steve Mc Kinney (Usa) 200,222 km/h
1982 Les Arcs (Fra) Steve Mc Kinney (Usa) 201,230 km/h
1982 Silverston (Usa) Leif Nelson (Usa) 200,669 km/h
1982 Silverston (Usa) Steve McKinney (Usa) 201,230 km/h
1982 Silverston (Usa) Franz Weber (Aut) 203,916 km/h
1983 Silverston (Usa) Franz Weber (Aut) 208,092 km/h
1984 Les Arcs (Fra) Franz Weber (Aut) 208,937 km/h
1987 Les Arcs (Fra) Graham Wilkie (Gbr) 212,514 km/h
1987 Portillo (Cil) Michael Prufer (Aut) 217,680 km/h
1988 Les Arcs (Fra) Michael Prufer (Aut) 223,741 km/h
1992 Les Arcs (Fra) Michael Prufer (Aut) 229,299 km/h
1993 Les Arcs (Fra) Philippe Goitschel 233,610 km/h
1995 Les Arcs (Fra) Jouni Ojala (Fin) 239/361 km/h
1995 Vars (Fra) Jeffrey Hamilton (Usa) 241,448 km/h
1997 Vars (Fra) Jeffre Hamilton (Usa) 242,915 km/h
1997 Vars (Fra) Philippe Billy (Fra) 243,902 km/h
1999 Les Arcs (Fra) Harry Egger (Aut) 248,105 km/h
2002 Les Arcs (Fra) Philippe Goitschel (Aut) 250,700 km/h
2006 Les Arcs (Fra) Simone Origone (Ita) 251,400 km/h
2014 Vars (Fra) Simone Origone (Ita) 252,454 km/h
2015 Vars (Fra) Simone Origone (Ita) 252,632 km/h