Whitehorse startup hopes to have its technology in athletes' hands for 2022 Winter Olympics

A Whitehorse startup has created a tool to help cross-country skiers measure an athlete's effort. They're hoping to get them in athlete's hands during training for the 2020 Winter Olympics.

Ski pole hand grips will measure an athlete's effort using readings on the track

Yukon-based startup company Proskida has designed cross country ski pole grips with embedded technology that can track an athlete's power and efficiency. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

A Whitehorse company is hoping to make a mark on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The startup, Proskida, makes cross country ski pole hand grips that measure an athlete's effort.

The grips have electronic software embedded in them that calculates the force an athlete is using to push down on their polls. This information is transferred in real time onto a smartphone app.

"Cross country skiing is the only sport that doesn't have performance measurements," said Alastair Smith, co-founder of the company.

In November the company teamed up with Swiss-Ski, the Norwegian Olympic Federation and Cross Country Canada to run a beta test program. Smith said that teams are expecting this kind of technology will be used in training leading up to the next Winter Olympics. 

Measuring the speed of a cross-country skier does not give an accurate picture of an athlete's ability because snow conditions have a big influences on a skier's speed.

Proskida, a Whitehorse startup, is hoping that its ski grips will be used by national Olympic teams in training leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Alastair Smith )
"It may require just as much effort to go 10 kilometres per hour on a different day [depending on snow conditions]," Smith said. "This is where this particular tool adds the most value because now you can measure the amount of effort pushing out and not just the speed."

Smith was at the world juniors in Switzerland this year where athletes could demo the product. This allows coaches to measure an athlete in the field opposed to tools that are used in a gym, according to Smith.

"What we're providing is the cutting edge tool for this sport," he said.

Proskida is not currently available for public purchase but the company hopes to have it on the market by next winter.

However, Smith isn't setting its sights strictly on skiing. The technology can be easily transferred to other endurance sports with hand grips like cycling and rowing.

Smith is currently in Victoria to meet with investors.