Harvard Engineer = Fastest Skis Out There!
Madshus hired a 22-year-old from Harvard University to build the flagship ski
– We really started by throwing most of the established measurement parameters
Now the Norwegian ski factory can launch the newly developed Redline 3.0 a full year ahead of schedule.
This is a repost from www.langrenn.com
Madshus’s new engineer Connor Green, a young American with a degree from Harvard University in Boston, has helped the Norwegian ski factory to launch the newly developed Redline 3.0 one year ahead of schedule.
The skis are a further development of the skis that Hans Christer Holund went on when he won the World Cup gold at five mileage in Seefeld last year.
“The changes we’ve made to the Redline skis in both skating and classic have proven to make such big differences that we couldn’t wait until next year to launch them, which would be the usual two-year cycle for planned launches,” Green tells Langrenn. com.Cross Country.com .
– In a way, Redline 3.0 is a further development, because the shape and geometry of the ski is the same as the 2.0 models. But we have changed the structure inside the skis, changed the materials and the composition of them, and changed the chamber heights, so that is a small revolution, he says.
Green has been working on development and testing in the Redline 3.0 project since he was hired at Madshus in August 2018.
He explains that the way this ski is constructed is fundamentally groundbreaking in several ways.
– When we started this ski, we really started by throwing most of the established measurement parameters and traditional development models for ski construction on the boat and started to think completely about what values are crucial to how to build a ski, says he.
Just what is different about Redline 3.0?
– We have changed the construction and the materials to make it easier to produce skis with the right bearing capacity for different driving conditions, we have changed the shape and height of the chamber, and we use more carbon on some parts of the ski. It gives a stiffer ski and more dynamic skiing for both styles, but without compromising the ability to securely attach to the classic skis.
“The result is that all skis are faster, operate in multiple temperature and lead conditions, and they work optimally for a wider range of runners,” says Green.
Why did you fundamentally start over with the construction of these skis?
– Modern cross-country skiing is much more force-based and offensive than many of the traditional parameters for measurement and ski construction were established, says Connor Green.
From Static to Dynamic Approach
Green explains that in the past, one usually measured and based the ski’s properties on load at full compression and half compression, that is, the type in the full kick transfer kick and when skating on both skis, such as when striking or sitting in hockey .
This is partly outdated because the technical development in cross-country has made the runners’ movement patterns today different from when the parameters and measuring instruments were developed.
– Previously, the skis were marked with flex values in kilos, which stated how many kilos it took to push the ski completely flat on the ground. This value was used to pick skis, normally by finding a flex value that corresponded to the runner’s body weight plus 10 to 20 kilos to account for the power the runner generates when kicking.
– Then you would get a ski they could both get in full contact with the surface during the sliding phase and thus optimal sliding, he says to Langrenn.com.Cross Country.com .
Now they would start at the other end, looking at the movement pattern in modern cross-country skiing and what requirements it places on skiing characteristics. This gives both a better ski and it is easier to hit precisely with the ski closure.
– If you look at how today’s world cup runners are skating, they send the power down the skis and the substrate instead of side to side, as they did when the technique was developed in the 1980s.
– Today’s technique requires a more dynamic and resilient ski that returns more of the power the runner develops against the ground.
– It also requires a way of marking skis, which gives a better and more detailed picture of the ski’s properties than the flex values do.
– That’s why we now use values such as balance point and chamber height at full and half weight, which says more about how dynamic the ski is, says Green.
Involves runners in testing and development The
development process for new ski models consists of several phases, and begins with a lot of internal testing. Then the athletes also get to try out the various prototypes, both in formal testing and on running and training.
– Often we get the runners to test skis during interval sessions. One session we often use is 8×3 minutes of competitive speed. Then the runners get six ships from us, plus they have two own ships, and then they go with each ship. We note all the times of the suit and can then compare how the skis behave at high speed, says Green.
For other types of testing, such as chamber height, the ski developers are more concerned with qualitative feedback.
Such tests are also often conducted as interval sessions, but in addition to pure numerical data, the developers are looking for descriptions of specific characteristics of the skis, such as stability, perceived slippage and ski feeling.
– In this type of test we depend on practitioners who are good at expressing meaningfulness and who can observe differences by adjusting the technique to optimize the prototypes we test.
– Therefore it is also useful that several practitioners with different techniques test the skis. They like to highlight different elements and aspects of the skiing properties, and that gives us a greater range of feedback, says Green.
– It’s not that useful to us if a runner says the skis are good. Yes, but good for what? Were they good today? Or are the good ones compared to the other skis you have? And in what way are they good?
– Other runners are very good at describing the experience of the ski, for example if it accelerates well under the foot, whether it feels better, worse or identical to other skis, and whether it responds well to creating speed, he says.
Impressed and humble
Connor Green himself went active cross country as a junior and at university level while studying at Harvard.
The young American is both impressed and humbled that an old Norwegian ski factory with long traditions is so forward-leaning that they dare to throw everything on the boat, start from scratch and take in a newly graduated engineer from a country with no essential traditions for cross-country skiing.
At the same time, Green believes that the background from both skiing and the engineering degree from Harvard gives him a good starting point.
– The Harvard education has provided me with the foundation to teach me how to see the problems and challenges and then find ways and methods to solve them. It is directly relevant to the job here at Madshus.
– And since I’m incredibly passionate about skiing and skiing, this has really become a dream for me, says Connor Green, who is originally from Rochester, New York.