What is the Kinetic Energy of an Average Skier? Free Calculator

by Anthony Schwabe | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

It’s no secret that there is a lot of energy involved in skiing. If you're wondering just how much energy an average skier might have - you need to know their speed and weight.

The kinetic energy of an 80-kilogram skier moving at 50 kph would have approximately 7.71605 KJ of kinetic energy. If this speed is doubled to 100 kph, their kinetic energy is quadrupled to 30.8642 KJ. A heavier and faster skier has more energy.

turning on skis

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Mass (KG)Velocity (KPH)Kinetic Energy (KJ)
50 (110 IB)50 (31 MPH)4.82253

What is Kinetic Energy?

Kinetic energy is the energy demonstrated by a moving object - people included. It occurs as a transfer of one form of energy into movement.

Kinetic Energy Calculator

The Math

Like with all physics, kinetic energy is subject to its formula. And here it is:

K.E. = 12mv2

Don’t worry, it’s actually quite a simple formula. It’s also essential for determining kinetic energy. 

The Variables

The kinetic energy of an object is a result of the variables in question. 

The ‘m’ in the formula represents the mass of the object in motion. Typically, the mass of the object, in this case, a 55 kg skier, will always remain constant for a specific section. 

The ‘v’ stands for the velocity of the object. This is where the kinetic energy of the 55 kg skier can increase.

You might now have noticed we have a slight problem, we don’t know the speed of our skier, so we can’t work out their kinetic energy!

Just for interest’s sake, let’s use 50 kph, which is a typical speed for an average skier moving at speed. That means the skier has 5305 J of kinetic energy. 

Average Skier Speeds

The fastest speed skiers are in another league again. Ivan Origone, from Italy, broke the world record for the fastest speed ever on skis 158.4mph on March 26th, 2016.

Skier TypeKPH SpeedMPH Speed
New Skier8-325-20
Average Recreational Skier32-6420-40
Fastest downhill skier162100.6
Fastest Ever Skier255158.4

What Happens to Kinetic Energy When Speed Doubles?

Winter Ski
Photo by Zach Dischner licensed under CC BY 2.0

Now that we know what the variables are, we can figure out how they affect kinetic energy.

If either the mass or the velocity increase, the kinetic energy does as well. This is particularly true of velocity because it is squared. 

This means that if the speed of the skier doubles, the kinetic energy quadruples! In the case of our previous example, the velocity becomes 100 kph, which is getting fast even for a pro! Our skier then has a kinetic energy of 21219 J. 

To Wrap Up

There is a lot of movement involved in skiing, which means there is a lot of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is subject to the mass and speed of the moving object. The heavier and faster a skier is going, the greater their kinetic energy.