How Fast Do Downhill Skiers Go?

How Fast Do Downhill Skiers Go?
You may have seen skiers on television, or been to a ski race. When you see them fly by on their way down the slopes, skiers are reaching speeds between 40 and 100 mph.

Speed Skiing and Speed Record

In 2009, the world speed record by a human on skis is 156 mph, set by speed skier Simone Origone. Speed skiing is a highly specialized aspect of downhill ski racing. It is an event where the purpose is to go in a straight line down the mountain as fast as possible.

Downhill Skiing Speeds

Much more common is downhill ski racing with turns. Speeds on these courses averaged 40 to 50 mph, and 80 mph and up at the Olympic level. 96.6 miles per hour is the top recorded speed during a downhill competition to date. It was set by Klaus Kroell of Austria on the Lauberhorn course in Wengen, Switzerland.

Women's Speed Record

In 1987, Jacqueline Blanc attained the women's downhill speed skiing record at a blistering 124.9 mph.

Change of Technology, Change of Speed

Technology changes and new materials, designs and innovations have all increased downhill speeds in competition to about 75 to 90 mph for men, and 60 to 75 mph for women.

Speed of Average Downhill Skiers

Depending on the run, the average recreational skier swooshes along at an average of 15 to 20 mph.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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