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Olympia 2022: DSV trainer inspects slopes in China - difficult conditions

2022-01-25T09:40:35.299Z

Olympia 2022: DSV trainer inspects slopes in China - difficult conditions Created: 01/25/2022, 10:22 am By: Thomas Jensen National coach Karlheinz Waibel was in China but was not allowed to see the ski center in Yanqing. © François-Xavier MARIT / AFP The 2022 Olympic Games will begin in early February. DSV technical director Charly Waibel was able to take a look around in advance and describes



Olympia 2022: DSV trainer inspects slopes in China - difficult conditions

Created: 01/25/2022, 10:22 am

By: Thomas Jensen

National coach Karlheinz Waibel was in China but was not allowed to see the ski center in Yanqing.

© François-Xavier MARIT / AFP

The 2022 Olympic Games will begin in early February. DSV technical director Charly Waibel was able to take a look around in advance and describes his impressions - and whether he fears espionage.

Munich – On Wednesday, the speed riders of the German alpine skiing team will fly to Beijing.

It's a journey into the unknown, because little is known about the slopes where Olympic heroes are soon to be born.

Our newspaper spoke to Charly Waibel, the national coach for technology and science at the DSV.

He has already spent some time in China to analyze the conditions.

These are neither easy nor completely harmless, as the 55-year-old explains.

Mr. Waibel, you were in China for a week at the beginning of December to look at the snow conditions.

where were you exactly

Charly Waibel:

I was at the ski jump and the Nordic combined courses when test competitions were taking place.

I know the Nordic area now.

No one has yet had access to the Alpine facilities.

You would certainly have liked to visit them too.


Waibel:

You were only allowed to go where you were led, and those were the test competitions for combined and ski jumping (Olympics 2022: disciplines at a glance).

You drive past the alpine area, a good hour before the Nordic area, you can see roughly where it is, but you have no way of going there - you can only move in this bubble, a very limited area.

Olympia 2022 in China: DSV trainer Waibel and the data analysis

Do the findings you have gained still allow conclusions to be drawn about the competition venues, which are a little further away?


Waibel:

That's hard to say.

It's basically the same climate zone and it's a similar mountain range, so you can guess from that.

But it can be the case, for example, that different water is used to make snow and the properties of the snow are therefore different.

But we assume that the conditions will basically be very similar: cold at night and generally windy.

But we only know exactly from the Nordic area, there was another delegation to the biathlon course between Christmas and New Year, where the IBU gave the opportunity for ski testers and technicians, even if not athletes, to go there.

What data did you take with you?


Waibel:

That's not a flood of data, it's primarily very specific results from ski tests.

Waxes and coatings of all kinds are tested and snow temperature and snow grain are measured, even if it's all artificial snow.

But the question is, what does it look like?

Air temperature and humidity are also measured and we took snow samples and water samples with us and had them analyzed.


What exactly?


Waibel:

Any special additives, whether the water is so different that it might feel different from the snow and you have to take that into account when working on the running surfaces.

Or how dirty the snow is, there were wild rumors beforehand about where the water was coming from.

And it is actually the case that the wind carries in dirt and dust from the surrounding areas, which are only sparsely overgrown.


A problem?


Waibel:

We remember that from Pyeongchang, where the wind carried sand from a golf course onto the slopes.

In extreme cases, this would mean that you might have to change something when cutting.

It's also the case that the snow, once it's rolled down, develops a very strange consistency when the wind constantly whistles over it.

That dries out the snow and sometimes makes it aggressive, but we noticed that in a way in Pyeongchang.

DSV team at the 2022 Olympics: "React to this very aggressive snow"

But it means that the trip was worth it, at least for the Nordic disciplines, because that sounds like conditions that are significantly different than those you know from the World Cup...

Waibel:

Yes - but we actually thought that it would be significantly different and that we would find more special features.

Even if I'm not going to go into detail about all the findings now (laughs).

A lot ultimately depends on the current weather when it starts, but at least we have a first impression now, after it was unfortunately difficult to look over the last two years.


Since that wasn't possible for the Alpine athletes, will it be stressful once the Olympics start?


Waibel:

That will be stressful, though.

We have to concentrate on the training runs, there aren't even any test tracks and that would help when it comes to how the skis react to this very aggressive snow.

We already experienced in Pyeongchang that the surface burns in the area near the edges.


burns?


Waibel:

At these speeds, the temperatures are so high that the base really blisters and burns.

If that happens, the child has already fallen into the well, because making such a ski fit for use again is a huge effort.

The fastest skis from the World Cup – with the thinnest edges – are probably not even used at the Olympics (topic overview).

Those with a slightly thicker edge will not damage the rubber.

However, this is also an aspect in terms of safety and not just athletic performance.

In what way?


Waibel:

If the surface burns next to the edge, the driver no longer has any grip at all.

Of course, this is dangerous at high speeds.

This is one of the reasons why the skis with the thin edges will probably not be used.


"The fastest skis are probably not even used at the Olympics," says Charly Waibel, Head of Technology at the German Ski Association (DSV).

© imago/Sven Simon

Olympic Winter Games: "Well coordinated teams still have arrows in their quiver"

Since the entire World Cup takes place without any prior knowledge, is it a bit of a matter of luck which athlete gets the right skis the fastest?


Waibel:

Oh, you always need a bit of luck in sport.

But let me put it this way, the well-coordinated teams, i.e. athletes and technicians, still have a few arrows up their sleeve.


Finally, another topic: At the beginning of winter, it made headlines that the DSV asked the BND about the trip to China.

The aim was to protect sensitive data, including technically important data.

Do you feel well prepared for this now?


We feel protected from the threats we know.

It's crazy that you know about these topics and then send so many people there.

For example, employees' laptops that are used in the games will no longer be connected to the network, that's clear.

But you have to say: the data that can be stolen from us isn't of much use if you're not an insider.

For example, we name our waxes using abbreviations that are meaningless to outsiders.

It is then useless to know that this or that combination of letters went well under these conditions.

The Winter Olympics are approaching.

Who carries the German flag at the opening ceremony?

There are three male and three male athletes to choose from.

Source: merkur

All sports articles on 2022-01-25

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