D-AIR®SKI: The airbag made for skiing becomes a reality

29 January 2014 17:06
The new bag protection
The new bag protection -

Last week in Kitzbuehel, during a joint press conference organised by Dainese in collaboration with FIS, the D-air®Ski, a protective system based on the D-air® airbag technology was officially presented to the public. The project is the result of a cooperation agreement signed between the two parties in January 2011.

“More than three years have passed since we approached Dainese regarding a possible cooperation on developing an airbag system for alpine ski racers. We have worked hard on this project. The most difficult aspect was defining the algorithm and finding the exact moment when an athlete is no longer in control and able to handle the situation,” FIS Chief Race Director for the men’s World Cup, Guenter Hujara explained.

Dainese presented a first prototype two years ago with the promise of producing an active version of it before the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (RUS). The promise was kept and the functioning D-air®Ski was first seen at the Val Gardena races and tested by Werner Heel, Jan Hudec, Manuel Osborne Paradis and other skiers from the Austrian and French Ski Associations.

During the press conference, Italian speed specialist Werner Heel demonstrated the inflation of the system and said:

"When the protection inflates you can’t feel anything, we will just need to adapt the suits to the shape of the protection but this is a huge step forwards in terms of safety. I am very proud to be part of this ambitious project. "

Manuel Osborne Paradis, one of the skiers who first tried the system and worked with the developers added.

"The D-air®bag is absolutely incredible. Even though you might think it would limit your movements or be uncomfortable, you don't even realise you have it on."

The current system is part of the FIS-ISS (Injury Surveillance System) programme and has seen significant modifications over the prototype regarding the deployment algorithm, pneumatic components, ergonomics, inherent safety and aerodynamics.

“The D-Air System seems to be almost ready now, we did some last tests recently and we had a meeting with the coaches in Val Gardena where the latest prototype was presented. We are very happy as it now seems to be the right time to present it to the world as something that might work in ski racing and we would like to thank Dainese for all their engagement on this project in the last couple of years,” Hujara concluded.