This study investigated the potential of micro-sensors for use in the identification of the main movement patterns used in cross-country skiing. Data were collected from four elite international and four Australian athletes in Europe and in Australia using a MinimaxX™ unit containing accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS sensors. Athletes performed four skating techniques and three classical techniques on snow at moderate velocity. Data from a single micro-sensor unit positioned in the centre of the upper back was sufficient to visually identify cyclical movement patterns for each technique. The general patterns for each technique were identified clearly across all athletes while at the same time distinctive characteristics for individual athletes were observed. Differences in speed, snow condition and gradient of terrain were not controlled in this study and these factors could have an effect on the data patterns. Development of algorithms to process the micro-sensor data into kinematic measurements would provide coaches and scientists with a valuable performance analysis tool. Further research is needed to develop such algorithms and to determine whether the patterns are consistent across a range of different speeds, snow conditions and terrain, and for skiers of differing ability.
Keywords: accelerometer; gyroscope; kinematics; technique analysis.