Year-round backcountry skier and a professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, Kam Leang is on the forefront of innovation in ski and snowboard technology. He currently is teaching a mechanical engineering class where his students are incorporating nanotechnology into skis they're building. One set will somehow fold down to fit in a suitcase; the other pair will utilize a "particle dampener" to reduce vibrations.
One uses a honeycomb-type box containing tiny metal
balls, called a particle dampener, on the end of the ski to help
dissipate energy and lessen the vibrations skiers feel while skiing
down the slopes. Here's a telling quote from a story from Nanowerk News on the dampener:
Graduate student Brian Kenton, who is the teacher's
assistant for the class, has been building his own skis out of his
garage for the last four years.
"I've made about 12 pairs, but this is definitely the first time I've seen one with a particle dampener on it," he said.
Sure, it sounds like something Captain Kirk would use
skiing the slopes of the planet Alderaan, but it's also not too far
from reality. Here's link to the Nanotech News story; there's another one here. Watch a news story on Leang's class and the future of nanotech skis after the jump.