Photograph of a snowboader in a mid-air jump for a StarTalk Playing with Science episode about snowboarding. Credit: Digital Vision.
Photograph of a snowboader in a mid-air jump for a StarTalk Playing with Science episode about snowboarding. Credit: Digital Vision.

Snowboarding: Shreddin’ the Gnar

Photo Credit: Digital Vision/Thinkstock.
Click to Listen to Audio

To activate exclusive, ad-free All-Access content, click here.

For All-Access contacts, pricing, refund policy and other important information, click here.

Listen On

You Can Also Listen On

About This Episode

The forecast is for snow, and hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice are hitting the slopes for a physics lesson with former pro snowboarder and soap opera star Othello Clark and veteran surfer, snowboarder and skateboard champ Dr. Bill Robertson, aka Dr. Skateboard. We begin with a comparison between surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. Dr. Skateboard, an expert at all three board sports, unpacks the differences between how you control your center of gravity on a skateboard and on the slopes, before diving into the physics of the three mediums: water, snow (powder and ice), and concrete, and the impact of those mediums on friction, speed and impact. You’ll hear about the importance of environmental awareness, “feeling the flow,” and the role friction plays in snowboard tricks. Explore the interplay of centrifugal force, centripetal force, and the moment of inertia, and learn the practical reason that snowboarders earned the nickname “knuckledraggers.” In our last segment, Othello Clark joins Chuck, Gary and Bill for a discussion of which sport they prefer, skateboarding or snowboarding, and the impact their favorite had on the course of their lives. Finally, Othello describes his favorite current snowboarding trick – the switch backside underflip at the money booter – and Dr. Skateboard breaks down the physics of the trick. And no, it has nothing to do with Chuck’s suggestion to improve the sport of snowboarding through the judicious application of bacon.

In This Episode

Music in This Episode

Episode Topics

Music in This Episode