The Winter Olympics are taking place across the globe from the U.S. in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This makes training a little difficult for the athletes; however, they have been able to familiarize themselves with the winter courses thanks to SkyTech Sport.
SkyTech Sport uses cutting-edge technology to create a virtual reality experience that simulates the exact sensation of competitive downhill skiing and snowboarding. The idea came about in 2005 when a group of engineers with a passion for snow sports decided to create a way to train indoors. SkyTech Sport has two main offices. One in Munich, Germany where all of the manufacturing and design originates, and the other in Los Angeles, California where the software, user interface and 3D graphics are perfected.
The US Ski & Snowboard Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah has embraced SkyTech Sport's Olympic model machine for rigorous training. The machine is designed to help athletes focus on technique and mechanics without the hassle of traveling to various locations worldwide. Slope courses are brought to life using GPS scanners that survey every ten feet of the mountain, and then graphics are added for virtual reality. US Ski Team Men's Coach, Sasha Rearick, says there are more exciting benefits to the virtual training like injury rehabilitation.
Athletes can progressively step in a little bit at a time every couple of days and do the return to ski progression before they get on snow. Because we're putting the athletes in forces that are very similar to snow, we can let the body adapt step-by-step.
Olympic athletes like Mikaela Shiffrin, who won Gold at the 2014 Olympics and is looking for more in Pyeongchang, believe the SkyTech Sport simulator provides an exceptional training tool that's easy to use year-round.
Alex Golunov, US Executive Director for SkyTech Sport, told Circa that the simulator can mimic all different types of snow conditions. With the touch of a button, a slope course can go from snow to ice. The change to ice adds chatter and vibration to the skis, and makes the edging of the skis more difficult.
Now, we think of it like it's not just a simulator, it's essentially a slope that you can control. And, you can put a five year-old on it or you can put an Olympic athlete on it.
SkyTech Sport offers smaller models from the Olympic simulator that are more ideal for beginner athletes. Golunov says SkyTech Sport has partnered with the PSIA-AASI (Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors) to develop guidelines for training beginners on the simulator and how to transfer those skills to the snow.
Be sure to watch the video above and check out SkyTech Sport.com for more information.
The opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place Friday, February 9th at 6 a.m. EST available on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. A produced broadcast of the ceremony will air later that night at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
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