Edging Out the Competition

04 March 2022

UC Mech Engineering develops a trailblazing sit-ski design to help competitive downhill skier Corey Peters go for gold in the Beijing 2022 Paralympics.

  • sit-ski design

The steep contest involved in international snow sports, like Paralympic downhill skiing, fosters innovation to help racers reach their potential and edge out the competition. To support New Zealand’s own athlete, Corey Peters, strive to the podium once again, Snow Sports New Zealand approached the UC Mech Engineering department to help design and develop a new functional sit-ski with improved aerodynamics and suspension system.

Dr Natalia Kabaliuk supervised this endeavor with the assistance of Mech Engineering students, Matthew Henderson, Ekaterina Lishout, and Tessa Impey. In modifying the leg cover and redesigning the seat of the sit-ski, the team was able to achieve significant reductions to drag force, upwards of 10 per cent, which is monumental in races where milliseconds can separate medals.

The project entailed numerous moving parts throughout the initial design phase to testing. This could not have been accomplished without the assistance of the Co-Supervisor for the project Professor Mark Jermy, as well as all the hard work given by the UC Engineering technicians who aided in constructing the final product. The engineers utilized wind-tunnels and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to best capture the advantages of this new sit-ski design. More information on the project and those involved can be found here.

Accolades all around to our UC Mech Engineering faculty and students who participated in this project. We look forward to seeing Mr Peters carve up the slopes in the coming weeks.

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