At three thousand meters high, at the top of the Hintertuxglacier in Austria, the best skiers in the world practice to prepare for winter competitions. It is mid-October, and there is still a long time before any traditional ski resort opens the facilities. So, they come up here to train, with multicolored suits that animate a landscape almost monochromatic, made of rock and ice, much higher than the limit of the trees. Teams from Canada, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands and many other countries line up alongside the ski lifts and at the beginning of the slopes, waiting for their shift to come down through the slalom gates. Watching them there is a whole battalion of austere coaches in duvets, with radios and binoculars hanging around their necks and pocket computers in their hands.
5000 information in 1.5 seconds on the server in Frankfurt
All these skiers, all these coaches … And yet, the skier followed more closely on top of this mountain is me. I’m skiing alone, without anyone paying me the slightest attention. I wear an old padded black hooded jacket and a woolen hat instead of a shiny helmet with national colors. In truth, to keep my every movement under control, from the angle of the ski laminae to the relative pressure exerted by every finger of my foot, there is the first IA teacher in the skiing world.Inside the boots,
almost hidden, are inserted two insoles full of sensors that communicate via Bluetooth with my smartphone closed in the pocket of the anorak, which in turn reports all information to a server in Frankfurt. At every turn, I throw a splash of snow and a cloud of data into the air. In recent years, apps for smartphones that have registered the speed reached and the distance traveled on skis have multiplied and become common. Carv, however, does something completely different: on average, a curve lasts 1.5 seconds during which this technology collects and analyzes more than five thousand information. In freeskiing mode it records in absolute silence all the performance so that, while you go back up with the ski lift, you can take the mobile phone out of your pocket and check, for example, the minimum angle you have maintained compared to the maximum or in what exact point of the curve you started applying pressure on the skis.
Every ski comes down a score: IQ
If all of this on the whole seems fanatical, leave the phone in your pocket and a computerized voice will simply tell you your “Ski: IQ”, the total score assigned to your descent, a sort of new “skiing skill quotient”. Recording and assigning scores, however, is only the beginning. Choose one of the exercises provided by your training and the app will communicate with you while you are skiing– via wireless headsets – giving you suggestions, encouragement and a vote for each curve.
A happy sound (Pac-Man comes to mind when he devours a ghost) recompensates a nice curve, a dark sound marks a mediocre curve. “Instead of just limiting ourselves to numbers and addressing a small niche of busy skiers, we decided to create an instructive experience that will actually be able to teach the average man to ski much better. And this, without a doubt, is a much more complex problem, “says Jamie Grant, CEO of Motion Metrics, the company that has developed the entire system. One could imagine that such a company is affiliated to a large ski or boot manufacturer or perhaps, with some extra effort,