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Skiing with straight legs - with added video

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Last season saw my comeback after 6 years out with a worn out hip. I put in loads of strength and fitness work. but am still a bit of a fat knacker. We skied 10th March for a week but had boiling temps and the snow was mounded and very soft, very quickly. I only skied it well when I had the strength and pain levels to bend the knees, but even then, nowhere as near as much as i should.

In a nutshell, both knees ar fcuked, one especially so.

I use a SKi Mojo, but this still is not enough and 45 degrees is about the maximum I can bend the knees without collapsing in a heap.


We are going again but are doing so in mid January to try and get colder conditions.

Anyone got any tips on how to ski with family straight legs?


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 11-10-18 19:04; edited 1 time in total
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avoid moguls Smile

Do you have any video of you skiing at all? It maybe you are squatting back rather than bending the knees and ankles, so some resetting of those movements and making sure you have ankle flexibility would/should help but hard to say without seeing!
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@Frosty the Snowman, choose runs carefully. Avoid bumps and chopped up heavy snow as much as possible. Only turn when you really have to. Keep doing what the physios tell you. Ice. Stretch.
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Ankles first. You don't actually need much knee bend if you flex you ankle and keep your hips forward.

Consciously skiing more pivoty turns rather than trying to carve might help.

Rob will no doubt be along with the proper view.
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kitenski wrote:
avoid moguls Smile

Do you have any video of you skiing at all? It maybe you are squatting back rather than bending the knees and ankles, so some resetting of those movements and making sure you have ankle flexibility would/should help but hard to say without seeing!

It is a valid point, and I ski best when throwing those hips forwards. The knees just seem to unconsciously throw me back over.
Thanks, good stuff so far.
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Quote:

The knees just seem to unconsciously throw me back over.

Skiing fairly upright is certainly much easier on the knees and should be possible assuming that (like me) you will settle for skiing non-challenging sort of stuff, no moguls, no off-piste. You do need to have your weight squarely over your feet - thighs upright. As @Dave of the Marmottes says, it's your ankles that are most important. Absolutely don't sit back at all - just kills the knees. And, of course, shag not sh*t. Your legs won't be completely straight, but needn't, IMHO, be bent much at all for easy cruising. I've just stood in easy ski position, sideways on to the mirror to check. To the bemusement of the guys that are trying to rod a block drain for me.
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@pam w,
Quote:

but needn't, IMHO, be bent much at all for easy cruising
Hear, hear.


Quote:

the bemusement of the guys that are trying to rod a block drain for me.
Laughing
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I also spent a lot more time on my "good" leg. Probably would be frowned upon by proper skiers, but worked for me!
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
kitenski wrote:
avoid moguls Smile

Do you have any video of you skiing at all? It maybe you are squatting back rather than bending the knees and ankles, so some resetting of those movements and making sure you have ankle flexibility would/should help but hard to say without seeing!

It is a valid point, and I ski best when throwing those hips forwards. The knees just seem to unconsciously throw me back over.
Thanks, good stuff so far.
That's exactly what I was going to say - pushing the hips forward, from the ankles, allows a much more upright stance.
The novice stance comes from people trying to lean forward with their head and shoulders: as a result the bum sticks out to compensate, the knees have to bend and the thighs provide a horizontal lever with your 'main mass' at one end and your knees at the other.
Then we have to spend years trying to break that habit.
Standing tall (by pushing your hips forward) as you go towards the fall line is usually the mental barrier to break through - as easiski used to say, "Dare to dive".


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Tue 9-10-18 11:55; edited 1 time in total
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There's straight'ish legs and there's legs where your joints are all locked. Skiing with straight'ish legs isn't too bad (I think quite a few people spend too much of each turn "over-flexed", which puts unnecessary load on their muscles and limits how much they can tip their skis to big edge angles), providing you can flex the inside leg more than the outside leg (which shouldn't be an issue as the inside leg won't have the same forces or load on it). However, skiing with any of the three principal joints 'locked' must be avoided. It just kills your ability to control your turns.

I don't know much about mojos, but from what I've seen they have enough movement available to cope with most conditions but bumps or mounded snow is going to test them perhaps more than anything else. Does the mojo brace inhibit your range of movement? Does it inhibit your rate of movement? I think that skiing bumps or very heavy, mounded snow is the most difficult type of skiing, and will brutally expose any technique weaknesses, and as a result challenge strength and stamina more than you might want because we end up "surviving" the conditions rather than skiing them. Therefore don't beat yourself up too much about struggling in those conditions, as many people do, regardless of levels of fitness.

If I was looking at your skiing I'd be interested in how effective your movements were at the start of the turn (do you balance on the turning ski early on, or push it sideways then stand on it later in the turn). I'd look at how tall or how flexed you were through the setup, load and release phases of the turn, and linked to that whether your three joints were flexing in proportion so you stayed centered or not (I think it's difficult to ski in the backseat with a mojo?). I'd look at whether you were able to change the way in which you steered the skis around the turn (more edge, less edge; more skid, less skid), and could vary that as conditions and terrain changed. I'd also talk about your tactics for skiing warm, mounded snow (lots of tight turns around them; bigger turns powering through, etc). If you have any video stick it up so we can see.

After all that I'd probably advise avoiding those conditions, and if you're away when it's sunny and warm then simply finish a bit earlier in the day before it gets too bad and enjoy a beer on your favourite terrace. It's what I do.
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If you push your hips forward aren't you skiing in limbo?
Wouldn't "letting your upper torso fall at 90 Deg to the slope" be a better explanation.
Isn't pulling your feet back easier?
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DB wrote:
If you push your hips forward aren't you skiing in limbo?
Wouldn't "letting your upper torso fall at 90 Deg to the slope" be a better explanation.
Isn't pulling your feet back easier?


No
No
No
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kitenski wrote:
DB wrote:
If you push your hips forward aren't you skiing in limbo?
Wouldn't "letting your upper torso fall at 90 Deg to the slope" be a better explanation.
Isn't pulling your feet back easier?


No
No
No


That clears that up then Laughing
Can't wait to see skiers hip thrusting while breaking backwards at the waist.
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Glad you saw it was a bit tongue in cheek!! just think it sounds over complicated and not necessarily correct.
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A bit complex for me too. I think ones hips get thrown back because when they are back it is easier to bring the knees up then when the hips are forward, when hitting a bump
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

breaking backwards at the waist

? who talked about breaking backwards at the waist? That implies arching the lower back = sh*t not shag.
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Fornicate don't defecate AKA shag don't poo-poo.
Then there was the young lady, confused because it was the same position.
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It was once explained to me that I had to get my hips forward, I think the technical term was "shäg it don't s-hit it".
Took me a while to realise my upper body had to stay above my hips which in the meantime caused all sorts of upperbody fore aft moment. Probably looked like I was rodding a drain.
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Just ski like this guy - doesn't seem to bend his knee much past 45 deg


http://youtube.com/v/A3vYPmvDkdk

Simples
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The old video by Lito Tejada-Flores, on Bumps and Powder, shows how to ski bumps without big "avalement"


http://youtube.com/v/lYBI3PyosWc
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I think that's video angles...
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It's a shame there aren't more videos of ordinary folk with compromised joints competently skiing blue runs in relaxed style. I recall a Warren Smith video where he keeps talking about "thigh high" which I found quite helpful. Thinking about getting your thighs upright can be a helpful way of avoiding sitting back. When your weight is stacked over your feet, using your very strong leg bones rather than your very pathetic knees, life becomes hugely easier. I find, though, that once I hit difficult stuff, especially in poor visibility, that all goes to pot. My knees tell me the instant I'm skiing badly.

At the risk of starting an old argument up again - I like to ski to music when cruising around. Relaxing, and helps with rhythm.

And yes, the shag not sh*t assumes conventional kind of heterosexual missionary position. rolling eyes
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@Dave of the Marmottes, The maximum bend is at the mid/end of the turn and that is when the forces are the greatest. There is no relevance of that skiing to mine Laughing
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Suspect it is the fear that puts us in the backseat which in turn puts strain on the joints & muscles. Whether that be the fear of the unknown (bad vis) difficult terrain or the fear of injury (through falling or bad knees/back etc). Walking on steep terrain (without snow) our natural reaction is to dig the heels in then turn to the side to gain traction and prevent a slide. This is programed in from a very early age but it doesn't work on snow. Another option is to balance/surf it out, this means unweighting the feet letting them come back underneath you, going thigh high and letting your upper body free fall forward without breaking at the waist plus retracting/extending the legs slightly to match the terrain. As I understand it this is how professional bump skiers handle easier bumps with ease.
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I find ice skating between skiing seasons helps me balance pretty well in right place, over my feet, with barely bent knees (coz mine are knackered too). This translates over onto skis and certainly helps me to significantly reduce the strain on my knees.
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(slight diversion)
DB wrote:
Suspect it is the fear that puts us in the backseat which in turn ...

I think the back-seat thing is different for learners and experienced people.

I know one guide who skis effectively if not prettily pretty much "in the back seat". He's frightening, not frightened.
I think he just "gets away with it" because he's built like a 'fridge and has legs like tree trunks.
He has a lot of strength and doesn't mind using it all day to get in and out of that back seat.
I ride with one other guy who's similar although not professional. He has the same tree-trunk legs.

To me it looks bad and it definitely takes more energy to do that.

--
On the OP, maybe stick to powder?

I was watching skiers the other day and some had very exaggerated up/down motions, which you don't need on indoor snow at least. As people have said, just rocking from edge to edge pretty much works for initiating turns...

Which just leaves absorbing shocks. I don't know about ski (as opposed to snowboard) technology, but with snowboards no race has been won on a glass fibre board for years - they can make metal boards much more damp, so you can ride them faster for the same vibration levels. Translation: maybe you can find some skis which are more damped than the ones you have. Damping has a surprisingly large effect in snowboards at least.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Ankles first. You don't actually need much knee bend if you flex you ankle and keep your hips forward.

Consciously skiing more pivoty turns rather than trying to carve might help.


+1

Ski as if you're walking down the mountain.

Small continuous movements with your legs/skis your normal hip width apart as they are when you're walking.

Here's John at 89 years young


http://youtube.com/v/Pp4iIbseGbQ
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@Mike Pow, thanks for that. Gives e the hope that I will still be skiing in 15 years time Smile
E
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Rabbie wrote:
@Mike Pow, thanks for that. Gives e the hope that I will still be skiing in 15 years time Smile
E


Fair play
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@Mike Pow, Not really the slope or snow conditions that I struggle in wink
I can nail a nice blue or red in good, smooth snow, perhaps not true carving, but decent enough. It's when it get sh!tty and the knees need to work and bend more
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
@Mike Pow, Not really the slope or snow conditions that I struggle in wink
I can nail a nice blue or red in good, smooth snow, perhaps not true carving, but decent enough. It's when it get sh!tty and the knees need to work and bend more


That's how I teach and how I ski. And I wear a full brace on my left leg.


http://youtube.com/v/GjnHUzOHGbo


It works
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@Mike Pow,

I've been a bit confused by this discussion. You can't ski properly without bending your knees and I see plenty of knee bending in your video.
You can ski without sitting back but not without bending at the knee. At least that is the case when you need to absorb and release pressure. On smooth piste of moderate angle and at moderate speed much less absorption is needed.

@Frosty the Snowman,
Like you my wife has dodgy knees and uses Mojos. They help her a lot but she is now selective about her skiing - when the pistes are smooth and have a bit of softness, she'll ski long days. When it is choppy or icy she will ski a little around lunch then call it a day. She things about preserving her knees for the good conditions. Probably not what you were hoping to hear but it is what is manageable for her.
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@Frosty the Snowman,

I'm trying to make an active effort not to give ski instruction over the internet as 1. I'm not an instructor 2. You can't get better than ski instruction in person on the slopes. Having said that I just can't let it lie snowHead

Have you read this book? It explains many of the different snow conditions and offers ways in which to ski them.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Mountain-Skier-Way-Expert-Skiing/dp/007140841X?tag=amz07b-21
My advice would be identify the conditions which cause you problems and ask a ski instructor for help in these areas.

Snowheads has been around for a while now, posters come and go. The longtime "hardcore" posters who stay all have something in common - we 'aint getting any younger. It probably won't be long before we have a medical section for hospital visits, knee injections and skiing with piles/incontinence. wink I guess with time we will all have to become more effcient skiers if we want to keep skiing.

You might find the mountainbiking has made your quads much stronger than your hamstrings, this out of balance can put pressure on the knees. Hamstring exercises and streching can help if this is the case.
IMHO efficient skiing comes from using the terrain rather than letting it beat you up. Good balance and a strong core really help. Skiing offpiste (powder, crud, mashed potatoes, beakable crust etc) is much easier and less stress on my body after I've invested time in core strengthening and balance exercises. Do your knees permit you to do balance / core exercises?
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My father has bad knees - 1 is artificial - and he skis in straight lines before skidding almost to a stop. It’s an extraordinary technique but it gets him everywhere at speed!
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jedster wrote:
@Mike Pow,

I've been a bit confused by this discussion. You can't ski properly without bending your knees


Agreed. A collision with a pea will cripple you if you ski with fully straight, locked legs.


Quote:
and I see plenty of knee bending in your video.


Agreed, but not too many times beyond 45 degrees (the OPs limit) despite the snow and terrain changes.

Wanted to show that it's possible to ski unconsolidated snow on ungroomed terrain with a more upright stance.

Possibly the OP has to accept that large swathes of the mountain are now unavailable to him.
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Mike Pow wrote:


Possibly the OP has to accept that large swathes of the mountain are now unavailable to him.


Having had the surgeon while in recovery from a recent meniscus trim, regale me with not what he'd fixed but how FUBARed the joint is with arthritis/bone on bone and how I'd need a TKR I'm now pretty much on a mission to ensure it is well and truly worn out by the the time it comes.
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@Frosty the Snowman, I am having to chip in on what is shtty? “Mounded, very soft” shouldn’t be an issue, IMHO. But with not good enough technique and too much momentum, yes, absolutely horrible.

Personally, I don’t see why skiing - in and of itself - should be hard on the knees? It’s low impact on a soft, cushioned surface (usually).
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under a new name wrote:
Personally, I don’t see why skiing - in and of itself - should be hard on the knees? It’s low impact on a soft, cushioned surface (usually).
If your knees no longer have all the essential components that knees should have then skiing can be be tough. A few weeks ago I taught a guy who had switched (mainly) from alpine skiing to monoskiing because both his knees were knackered. He couldn't really cope with alpine skiing for much more than a hour, but could monoski for most of the day as it was easier on his joints.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 10-10-18 17:13; edited 1 time in total
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@rob@rar, that’s why I said, “ in and of itself” wink

I appreciate FTS has some pathologies, that will understandably be problematic, so perhaps coping strategies from a good coach are in order but difficult to achieve on-line?
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under a new name wrote:
...so perhaps coping strategies from a good coach are in order but difficult to achieve on-line?
This is the key point. Those strategies may be technical, tactical, perhaps equipment related. FtS has already done great work on the physiological, but I'd hesitate to suggest psychological as an instruction from someone like me to 'Man Up' would receive a friendly cuff around the ear from the big man. But all difficult to do online, certainly in the absence of video in the particular context.
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