Episode 59: Winter Sports

Ski mountain in Winter. Image courtesy of flickr user Meng_Tian.

This week’s image is courtesy of flickr user Meng_Tian.


We’re hitting the slopes—and tending our wounds—on today’s episode of Distillations. We start off with the science behind sports gels. What exactly is in this goop that makes your muscles feel better? Next, find out more about the synthetic fabrics, from GoreTex to fleece, that can keep you warm when you’re outside. Finally, producer Lydia Wilson travels to a snowless mountain in Virginia to learn about the latest advances in fake snow. Check out the video below for footage of snowboarders on green mountains. Chemical Agent: Menthol.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:31 Introduction
00:58 Chemical Agent: Menthol
03:05 Chemistry in Your Cupboard: Synthetic Fibers
06:30 Feature: Snowflex
11:16 Closing Credits

Resources and References

Science Daily has a clear, accessible story about menthol and pain receptors.
Learn about GoreTex at the official corporate site.
Watch a slideshow and view more videos at this preview site for the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center.


Special thanks to Erin McLeary and Eleanor Goldberg for researching and writing the show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from the PodSafe Music Network. Additional music is “Dead of Winter,” by The Groove Mine; “Snowball Fight,” by TVs Kyle; and “Snowdays,” by Robbie Killingsworth.

Posted In: Society

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