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U Presents the ‘Physics of Freestyle’

The Physics of Freestyle

March 24, 2014 – University of Utah’s College of Science presents its first Physics of Freestyle event, March 27, 2:30-5 p.m., at the Eccles Center in Park City, 1750 Kearns Blvd. The program, which explores the science behind skiing and snowboarding, is geared toward K-12 students in the Park City School District but is free and open to the public.

“From athletes performing tricks on a giant trampoline to students getting involved with iterative physics demonstrations that show the physics of freestyle, this interactive show will bring science to life and demonstrate the applied physics of sports,” said Rich Ingebretsen, professor and associate dean of student affairs in the College of Science at the U and part of the organizing committee.

The 90-minute program explores backcountry and avalanche safety, ski racing, aerials and slopestyle skiing. Prior to the presentation, students will have an hour to meet athletes and industry experts and learn about a variety of related academic programs at the U.

“We jumped at the opportunity to partner on this incredibly dynamic presentation,” said Abby McNulty, executive director of the Park City Education Foundation. “We hope that exposing students to science in this way will encourage them to become engaged in STEM disciplines.”

More information is available here.

The program includes the following presentations:

“Avalanche Safety” by Scott Marland

Scott Marland is chairman of the National Ski Patrol and an expert on ski safety and backcountry rescue techniques. His presentation explores the forces that cause avalanches, safety basics and demonstrations using rescue equipment, including inflating an avalanche backpack airbag onstage in seconds. To illustrate the power of force, Marland will send a ping pong ball flying at several hundred miles per hour through soda cans.

“Ski Racing” by Erik Schlopy

Erik Schlopy is a former Olympian and coach for the U.S. Ski Team. Schlopy’s presentation proves that it’s not just a figure of speech to say ski racers “have it down to a science.” His segment investigates the role of friction in achieving speed. Student volunteers will experience the power of friction firsthand as they try to pull apart two phone books that are held together by the friction of their overlapping pages.

“Freestyle Aerial Skiing” by Trace Worthington

Trace Worthington is a two-time Olympian, member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame and TV host. Worthington will bring athletes to perform aerial tricks on an Olympic-size trampoline while U physicist Adam Beehler explains the fundamental physics concepts behind each move.

Slopestyle Skiing” by Fly Freestyle

Fly Freestyle is the resident freestyle program of the Utah Olympic Park that offers winter sport development programs designed for youth. Fly Freestyle coaches will demonstrate a variety of tricks seen at the X Games and Olympics that showcase angular momentum – how athletes carry momentum through their tricks. They will also explain how athletes learn to perform these tricks by breaking them down into steps and explaining the science behind them.