Work Step by Step
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the steeper the slope, the faster the skier will be traveling at the bottom. While it’s true that the skier’s acceleration will be larger on a steep slope, the skier spends less time accelerating. The correct way to think about it is in terms of energy: the skier’s initial gravitational potential energy is converted into kinetic energy at the bottom. Therefore, the skiers starting from higher up have the greatest speed when they reach the bottom.