Earlier we have seen how advanced technology from NASA and several other sources were used to give Speedo’s LZR Racer swimsuit extraordinary qualities. Considering the outstanding performance of the product it is not surprising that this thinking spreads to other sports. Right now, for instance, there is a cool experiment (Swedish) going on with cross-country skis in Sweden. An interesting difference is that while Speedo’s swimsuit was developed at a deliberate intersection where they harnessed the skills of experts from diverse fields this idea is more coincidental. And it did didn’t come from the sport people.
When some technicians who work with the Swedish combat aircraft Gripen heard that Norwegian skiers had successfully used sandpaper instead of ski wax to prepare cross country skis they got an idea. To make the colour attach well to the surface of the airplane they use an advanced technique where they blast it with minuscule plastic balls. That way they achieve pretty much the same effect as with sandpaper but with much more precision. Basically, they realized that they could do the same thing as the Norwegians – only better. Naturally, they didn’t contact them to tell them this – the Norwegians are annoyingly good as it is. Instead they approached their countryman Oskar Svärd who is one of the top long distance skiers in the world.
The precision with which they can use this technique makes it possible to adjust the surface for different temperatures and snow qualities. They have now made several pairs of skis for Svärd. He has tested them and is really pleased with the result. He will use them this winter and if he is successful it might change the sport as well as attitudes to the Gripen project in Sweden. It is ridiculously advanced and expensive and heavily criticized. But if it can help Svärd beat the Norwegians at cross-country skiing...