At the 2010 Vancouver games, competitors are sliding down a track built in Whistler, British Columbia. Click on the photo for a picture showing the track's path clearly.

Some details of the luge course on this track (I've made a few approximations, since the best numbers refer to the bobsled course).

Length: 1,374 m Finish Altitude: 786 m Start Altitude: 929 m Number of Curves: 16

Suppose that an athlete of mass **70 kg**
slides down the track on top of his
sled of mass **23 kg**.

- Under ideal conditions, what is the maximum speed this rider could reach at the end of the track?
- How much work does gravity do on the rider+sled during the race?
- The actual top speed of the sleds at the bottom
of the course is about
**v = 40 m/s**. How much work has friction done on the rider+sled? - Estimate the coefficient of kinetic friction between sled and ice.

Here is a closeup of the final turn:

- Suppose the actual speed at the finish line is about
**40 m/s**. When a sled moving at that speed goes around the final turn, what is its centripetal acceleration? Express your answer in m/s^2 and in gees.

- Whistler's bobsled/luge course is fast -- and scary.
- Training at the Whistler Sledding Center
- Wikipedia's entry on the Whistler Sliding Center

Copyright © Michael Richmond. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.