The energy cost of ski mountaineering: Effects of speed and ankle loading

P. Tosi, A. Leonardi, F. Schena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study is to determine the energy cost (EC) of ski mountaineering and its variation with speed and ankle loading. Methods. Seven male skiers volunteered to participate in this study. Field tests (500 m, gradient 21%) were executed on packed snow at an altitude of about 1 600 m. Measurements were carried out breath by breath by a portable gas analyzer. Energy cost of uphill skiing was calculated from the steady state V̇O 2. In the speed protocol each subject was asked to repeat the same route at three different speed levels. In the weight protocol, subjects were instructed to maintain the pre- ferred speed for three trials on the same track while wearing dif- ferent weight bands on their ankle. At the self-selected speed of 1.07±0.05 m s-1 and with- out extra load beside the normal equipment, the mean value of EC on packed snow is 10.6±0.4 J kg-1m-1. A percentage varia- tion of the speed (%speed) produces a corresponding percent- age variation of the energy cost %EC = 0.32 · % speed. The % EC as a function of the percentage of added load, % weight, with respect to the total weight of the subject, including ski, bindings, and boots is given by %EC = 1.71 · % weight. Conclusion. Data obtained in the present study constitute the first quantitative description of EC for ski mountaineering and result higher than for walking or snowshoeing. Effects due to ankle loading appear negligible for recreational skiers, while they should be taken into account in agonistic compe- tition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-29
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Energy metabolism
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Skiing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'The energy cost of ski mountaineering: Effects of speed and ankle loading'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this