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Burning thighs

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I hope someone out there can help.


I'm 54 but keep in good shape. I train 4 to 5 times per week and am careful with putting my training programme together to meet all of the demands of skiing whilst trying to look after problemtaical knees that are pretty worn out with wear and tear. I vary the programme and it keeps up well with all other demands. For example I've been doing some pretty demanding mountain biking recently and felt strong with really good endurance on long hard climbs.


The last couple of seasons, however, I've been finding that after feeling great on the first day or two, by the middle of the week my thighs burn more and more and I get to a point where I have to stop and recover after only a few hundred metres. I find it really frustrating as it never used to be a problem. At the end of the day my legs really sieze up and it's uncomfortable walking like I've done a really hard leg session after a break.


I realise I'm getting older but like I say I'm in good shape otherwise. Technically I think I'm skiing better than ever and will hopefully be doing my CSIA Level 3 training this season, so I don't think it's a technique thing as this would have shown itself before when the technique wasn't as strong.


If anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate it.



post #2 of 9

Have you made any equipment changes in the past couple years, specifically boots and/or bindings?  As an instructor you should be pretty aware of how different ramp and delta angles can affect your stance and cause the kind of problems you describe, but perhaps not?  I would look closely here first for the cause of your issue.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have Bud. I've changed my whole set up. I travelled some distance to see a well respected boot fitter who sorted me out. I also got set up advice on the same visit from a leading coach who has worked on the equipment of top racers. He supplied me with information about appropriate ramp angle for my morphology etc. He felt my Salomon Tornado skis were good for me.


Don't know whether it may make a difference but I do have big problems with fitting due to pretty bad tibial torsion and I have been looking for the right help with my set up. Certainly the help I got improved things technically and last season was good for some breakthroughs.

post #4 of 9

Sounds like you are in good shape so I don't know what else the problem could be if it is not technique or equipment unless perhaps you are skiing too defensively.  Those Canadians do like that lower stance.  Perhaps if your sagittal plane angles are good perhaps you simply need to maintain a taller neutral stance and move more laterally and less vertically through your turns?  I am just guessing without seeing your skiing here.


What boots and bindings are you on?

what boot size or sole length?

dorsiflexion range? (hyper, avg, tight)



Answering these questions would help me get a better idea of what we are dealing with here.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply Bud. I do definitely ski in a slightly lower stance. This is probably the Canadian influence. During the summer I've been working hard on some things at the indoor snow venue near where I live to improve my lateral movements. Because of when I learned to ski, I came into shaped skis with a lot of skinny ski baggage that I still work to eliminate entirely e.g. perhaps over use of knee angulation, so I've emphasised long leg short leg to improve hip angulation.


My bindings are Salomon Z12 on the Tornado skis in a 176. The boots are a Nordica Speedmachine 110, 305mm sole length. I have Instaprint custom footbeds in them and an SBS shim on the footbed. I think it's 1.5 degrees. The guys like to use small angles and this certainly felt balanced when I was fitted and feels good on the hill. I have just intorduced instaprint Eliminator pads as I have skiiny little ankles and am inclined to slop around a bit. Because of my dorsiflexion range and figuring that I am quite flexed anyway I thought I could afford the more upright stance.


I am 6 feet tall (72 inches) and 173 pounds. I have a drop test ankle flex range of about 30cm (back, heels and backside against a wall and measure the drop before heels come off the floor.) Warren Smith who measured it reckoned it to represent good flexibility in the joint, although to acheive this in a boot is reduced due to my knee problem as my foot needs to be offset to acheive this value. I was also told by a physio when I did some Sports Therapist training that I had very strong dorsiflexion which she attributed to skiing.

post #6 of 9

If your boots do not allow you to stand upright enough between turns and in the lift line your muscles never get to fully relax.  I like my boots with a lot of forward lean but found my legs will quickly burn up if the boots are not set up so that I can straighten my legs to a certain point.  I am not talking about straight up, but to a sufficent point that you can relax on your bones without muscle support.  Even if you have great footbeds and your boots are set up to carve like ice skates, your quads and hamstrings will appreciate being completely released from tension when not needed for hard duty.  Boots tend to get fitted for the carving flexed work mode, but you can only stay in a squat for so long before muscle failure, regardless of how strong you are.

post #7 of 9

Drop test? had never heard of this before... will have to play with that a bit.


Your bindings have about a 2mm stand height differential which is pretty flat but with your short boot sole in combination with your binding delta angle, they kinda average out (the smaller the boot sole the steeper the delta angle in a given binding).  Also the fact that you are fairly tall for that boot sole length and scale of boot, chances are a check of your neutral static stance would show your knees plumb out a bit in front of your toes??  Just hypothesizing here but here's a quick easy experiment for you that is reversible and if you like it, an easy mod to your boots or bindings.


Take a 3mm thick and 1.5 mm thick bontex insole (most boot shops have these) and cut a couple shims approximately one inch by two inch (2cm X 6cm) and use these shims to first place between your boot toe and AFD pad.  Then take a few runs and see what you think.  Then try them between your heels and heel piece with a couple runs, Then without.  Begin with the thicker 3mm shims then if you notice one way feels better (ex 3mm shim under toes) try it again with the thinner shims.  Play around until you find your sweet spot, then have either lifters installed on your boot soles (this works best if you have a quiver of skis with the same model bindings) or place appropriate shims under the binding toe pieces.


You will notice when experimenting that gas pedaling your boots will cause a taller stance and a noticeable increase in pressure from the tongues against your shins and that your hips will move forward and you will notice an easier time pressing the shovels at the top of the turns.  Consequently moving the shims under the heels will cause a noticeable shift of the hips aft to compensate and the ability to drive the ski tips at the top of the turns is reduced and the stance becomes more flexed.


You should be able to link short quick turns and remain comfortably in balance and feel constant light tongue pressure (at least that is my preference).




What is your correlation between forward lean and carving?  I don't know that I would agree more forward lean translates into better carving?

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks I'll certainly try it.

post #9 of 9


Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post


What is your correlation between forward lean and carving?  I don't know that I would agree more forward lean translates into better carving?



I did not mean to imply a direct correlation between forward lean and carving.  My point was that boots are generally fitted for the active mode of flexing forward, with little thought to the unflexed position, other than that your stance is flat and balanced.  If your boots are set up with a lot of forward lean then you may not be able to stand up straight, resulting in your leg muscles always being under some degree of tension.  I see people in the lift line all the time that cannot stand up straight in their boots. They may rip turns really well, but their legs will tire quickly without the ability to totally relax them.


I may be wrong, but I think forward lean is a personal preference generally determined by your body type.  I am tall and have tried skiing with boots set more upright, but have found that I ski better and can keep my weight forward more easily with lots of forward lean. I use Kryptons with the large forward lean wedge, while others ski great with the small wedge, or no wedge at all.  If the OP is in good physical shape but gets buring thighs after only skiing a few hundred meters, perhaps his legs are not getting enough of a break because his boots will not allow it.



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