General Motors hosts Canadian Alpine Ski Team for wind tunnel testing

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 7, 2010 11:37 am

Four members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team spent the day at the General Motors Aerodynamics Laboratory in Warren, Michigan, testing racer positioning and the latest technological equipment advances prior to the 2010-11 ski season.

Wind Tunnel testing for the first time were reigning Nor-Am overall men’s champion Dustin Cook (Lac Sainte Marie, QC) and FIS Alpine World Junior Ski Championship medallist Kelby Halbert (Bradford, ON) as well as 2010 Olympians Louis-Pierre Hélie (Berthierville, QC) and Tyler Nella (Toronto, ON).

“The wind tunnel testing plays a significant role in our relationship with Alpine Canada Alpin, taking it beyond the traditional sponsorship. GM Canada is proud to provide the latest technology to propel Canadian skiers to greater heights at every level of ski racing, technology that is used by automotive engineers to develop the aerodynamic specifications for new GM cars and trucks,” Peter Cornu, Manager, Promotions and Special Events, GM of Canada.

The Canadian Alpine Ski Team used the facility for the ninth consecutive season in 2010, seeking aerodynamic advantages in the positioning of each athlete while testing the race suit for the upcoming season.

The skiers were filmed in various racing positions as smoke was blown across their bodies to provide visual cues about wind patterns. Alpine Canada Alpin’s technical and coaching personnel, along with the skiers, are then able to analyze the film footage and other data.

The initiative is made possible through a unique partnership between GM, Alpine Canada Alpin and Own the Podium.

“This year we brought in a couple of athletes who had never experienced the wind tunnel before and this new information will provide a boost of confidence, knowing the every technological advantage available to them has been used,” said CAST Athletic Director Patrick Riml.

“In a sport where hundredth of a second can differentiate between first and tenth place, any advantage helps,” said Dustin Cook, member of the men’s Alpine Ski Team. “Training in the GM wind tunnel enables our coaches to easily pinpoint and correct flaws in our body position that would be difficult to do during a regular run.”

Canada’s alpine ski teams finished the 2009-10 season with four World Cup victories, the most since 1984, as well as eight World Cup podiums, including three top 3 results in Lake Louise. Erik Guay (Mont-Tremblant, QC) became the first Canadian since Steve Podborski in 1982 to win a discipline title, winning the men’s super-G Crystal Globe on the final day of competition.

GMC is the official sponsor of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and exclusive vehicle provider for the Coupe GMC Cup, the nation’s premier developmental alpine ski racing series. The complete 2011 GMC Cup schedule will be unveiled later this year.