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New skis for my wife - post ACL reconstruction...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I would appreciate some suggestions for new skis for my wife Catherine - who hasn't yet skied since an ACL (knee ligament) reconstruction last season - yes, ski injury. The kids and I are the real enthusiasts... Catherine is 40y, 5'7" 154lb intermediate level. She was skiing black groomers and blue off piste in good conditions but undoubtedly will be sticking exclusively to the blue groomers for a while... I think her main fear will be the high traffic areas where man-made snow is inevitably relied on some times of the year where we ski. So am looking for a ski with some grip in those hard conditions but still reasonably easy going at moderate energy.

A couple of specific questions:
- at her stature, should she be looking at "women's" skis or better off with unisex?
- of the major brands is there anything (really) to choose between bindings? I'm not looking to reignite another "knee binding" thread, many of which I have read.

Thanks
post #2 of 14

Unless she blamed her old skis for her fall, my wife would be more comfortable on her old skis than anything new and untried. Need to double check release settings plus boot soles and lugs to make sure they are releasing properly. If a new ski is in her future I think you need to be on the narrow side of what's popular today and keep it short like one notch shorter than the ski she used last year. Length primarily gives you stability ast speed and I doubt if she'll be flying down the hill this year. Since she's staying on the groomed she needs quick, easy and nimble. Shorter and narrower will be easier to maneuver

In my family the final decision would be based on the color of the ski matching the color of the outfit. biggrin.gif

post #3 of 14

Nut, before you go changing out ski's, I don't see why she can't go ski anything at this point if the OS has cleared her.  I had ACL recon in March and I am cleared to ski without a brace with no restrictions ( I will probably ski with my brace to build confidence for the 1st couple of days). She may just need a few runs to build back her confidence but unless she just wants new frontsiders, you may just want to give a couple days back on the snow to regain confidence. icon14.gif

 

that said, the first ski that comes to mind is the Blizzard Black Pearl. This is a no-brainer; fantastic ski with good versatility and ease.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post

I would appreciate some suggestions for new skis for my wife Catherine - who hasn't yet skied since an ACL (knee ligament) reconstruction last season - yes, ski injury. The kids and I are the real enthusiasts... Catherine is 40y, 5'7" 154lb intermediate level. She was skiing black groomers and blue off piste in good conditions but undoubtedly will be sticking exclusively to the blue groomers for a while... I think her main fear will be the high traffic areas where man-made snow is inevitably relied on some times of the year where we ski. So am looking for a ski with some grip in those hard conditions but still reasonably easy going at moderate energy.
A couple of specific questions:
- at her stature, should she be looking at "women's" skis or better off with unisex?
- of the major brands is there anything (really) to choose between bindings? I'm not looking to reignite another "knee binding" thread, many of which I have read.
Thanks

What was she skiing before?  How many years did she ski before the injury?  Did she learn as an adult or much younger?  What kind of boots?

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

What was she skiing before?  How many years did she ski before the injury?  Did she learn as an adult or much younger?  What kind of boots?

Last pair was "ex-demo" (and some cosmetic damage) about 3 years ago - élan wave magic. 160cm, 70mm width, 12.2m radius, trad camber. Been pretty good for her I think. Adult learner - more skiing before we had kids than in the last few years - now youngest at school we were just doing a bit more until... Boots good: Tecnica Attiva, footbeds, 2 seasons only.

Fair to say she doesn't "need" a new pair - more of a treat for the "feel good" (ok and look good) factor. And, maybe, some tip rocker might be a genuine advantage...?
post #6 of 14

After my knee injury (which was much worse - a tibial plateau fracture plus significant damage to ligaments, meniscus etc.) I was surprised to find that I was more comfortable in a stiffer boot. I had sort of expected the opposite. You don't say exactly which boot (the Attiva comes in different models), but it's something to think about. If she finds that she is buckling up extra tight and yanking up her powerstrap all she can to try and get better support, it's time to go visit the boot guys. 

 

For me changing boots was a much more important thing than changing skis, but I have a quiver of 7 so I suppose it was easy for me to choose something suitable :-) But again, my experience was counter-intuitive. I was more comfortable on something with a longer radius and it wasn't until halfway through the season that I was on skis with a 12m radius - yet I was on women's GS skis with a 23m radius quite early. So I would at least consider going a bit longer, rather than shorter. Get her to demo a pair in the region of 15-17m radius, it's more relaxed, less forces on the knees, yet still fairly manoueverable.

 

Mark

post #7 of 14

I guess I am missing something here; did she not recover 100% or have changes to her stance, alignment (some people don't recover or have changes to their alignment or stance; I did)?  Again, if she wants something new or different, I understand that, but selecting something new to help with some existing problems is different in that maybe she needs to find a good boot fitter to evaluate the changes in her alignment/legs/feet?  

post #8 of 14

 If it is confidence she is lacking perhaps treating her to a couple of lessons with a good instructor to make sure she has her technique nailed would help more? I'm just coming back from injury (not knee) and will definately be sourcing lessons to make sure I don't cause myself issues through poor balance or lack of commitment. The other thing I will be doing is getting my skis serviced by a professional to check the din setting is correct for my weaker legs.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I guess I am missing something here; did she not recover 100% or have changes to her stance, alignment (some people don't recover or have changes to their alignment or stance; I did)?  Again, if she wants something new or different, I understand that, but selecting something new to help with some existing problems is different in that maybe she needs to find a good boot fitter to evaluate the changes in her alignment/legs/feet?  
Recovery seems to be pretty good - it's more of a confidence thing - which has definitely taken a blow - and a chance to update gear that was probably needed anyway. Oh yeah - since buying her somewhat random ex-demo's I've bought myself three carefully researched new pairs, so fair's fair... It's not a market segment I have ever bothered to pay any attention to at all previously so I am really just looking to get up to speed before hitting the retailers. I like your suggestion of the black pearl - wider than I have been thinking but just looks like a great great ski... My skinniest ski (in service!) is 88, so why not for her? She's not looking for edge-to-edge quickness through the bumps and hopefully will get the confidence to go off piste again before too long. Although l would welcome some slightly slimmer suggestions also. Your idea goes along with hypercub's thinking that somewhat longer radius will give more confidence than shorter which is making a lot of sense to me. She doesn't "rail" the 12m radius she has now.
post #10 of 14

OK, I completely understand now.  I think Lilywhites suggestion is excellent!  I know I am fooling myself to think I won't be a little apprehensive getting back out there but I have to have confidence and not ski timidly. You run a higher risk of getting hurt if you ski defensively and start to create bad habits.  

 

Black Pearl's-  Maybe Trekchick will see this to comment but the Pearl (and bushwacker) is a very easy going ski especially to an experienced skier. 88 is not that wide and with the sidecut. as long as the snow is soft, it will be responsive and more than capable carver through like powder. The Bushwacker was fun in the bumps too and when she builds confidence, it will perform just fine on the off-piste too. I think the other women's ski that had good reviews was the Kenja but I don't know anything about that one.  

post #11 of 14

For what it's worth, I loved the Black Pearl when I had a chance to demo at Big Sky.  Easier to turn on soft bumps and wide open trees than my Rossi Attraxion 8's.  I'm petite 5'0", 115 pounds, advanced (or was last season before popping off an ACL).  The other skis that were on my demo list that day that I liked were Dynastar Legend Eden.  What I didn't get to try was the Rossi Temptation 82 or 88.

 

There are plenty of women who are advanced skiers who love the Volkl Aura or Kenja.  For me, the Volkl line is too stiff.  In contrast, I've liked any Rossi I've tried.  I mainly demo out west.

 

What is she doing to keep her hamstrings strong?

post #12 of 14

FWIW, there's some evidence that shorter radius skis may create knee unfriendly conditions when they're backweighted. Cannot speak to boots except to say that using an overstiff boot may be just as bad as an understiff. The flex needs to be married to the forces she's generating, which means her weight, her typical speeds, and her edge angles. Also assume she's doing PT, make sure she builds up her hamstrings. They stabilize the knee, especially important to the ACL, and they tend to be less developed in women relative to their quads; this imbalance has been cited as a risk factor in ACL.

 

As much as I'd like to support Finn here, I'll have to add that everyone who suffers a significant knee injury develops degenerative OA. Good sized lit on this, has to do with molecular level, not whether your surgeon did a bang up job. Very small scale anatomical remodeling begins pretty quickly, although obvious functional changes may take a decade or more. If you're middle aged, everything takes longer to heal and is less likely to heal perfectly. That kind of stuff, not the ACl being "weaker," is going to be the organic issue. So I'd suggest a ski that can absorb some jolts for her would be a good thing both for her knee and her mind. Head, Kastle, Stockli, Rossignol come to mind as brands that one way or the other manage to build smoother skis. Something along the lines of a Temptation 82, Kastle LX82, or Head REV 80 might work well. Trekchick may be able to give you some solid advice on additional women's models that are appropriate for an intermediate. 

 

Finally, would underscore the need for lessons. Right away. Will help her rebuild confidence, and reshape her technique to reduce the chances of doing it again. 

 

Good luck. 

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Also assume she's doing PT, make sure she builds up her hamstrings. They stabilize the knee, especially important to the ACL, and they tend to be less developed in women relative to their quads; this imbalance has been cited as a risk factor in ACL.

 

As much as I'd like to support Finn here, I'll have to add that everyone who suffers a significant knee injury develops degenerative OA. Good sized lit on this, has to do with molecular level, not whether your surgeon did a bang up job. Very small scale anatomical remodeling begins pretty quickly, although obvious functional changes may take a decade or more. If you're middle aged, everything takes longer to heal and is less likely to heal perfectly. That kind of stuff, not the ACl being "weaker," is going to be the organic issue. 

 

Finally, would underscore the need for lessons. Right away. Will help her rebuild confidence, and reshape her technique to reduce the chances of doing it again. 

 

Good luck. 

[hijack on]  While a damaged knee is certainly more likely to develop arthritis, there are also recent studies that point to the state of the meniscus being a key factor.  As opposed to how an ACL rupture is treated.

 

http://www.eorthopod.com/content/long-term-results-of-nonoperative-treatment-for-acl-injury

 

The concluding sentence of this summary of an 2008 article in the Journal of Sports Medicine is "Saving the meniscus seems to be an important way to prevent knee osteoarthritis after ACL injury."  Patients in the Swedish study were followed for 15 years.  Some had ACLr surgery, some did not.  Some needed a meniscectomy eventually and some never needed any surgery for the ACL or the meniscus.

[hijack off]

post #14 of 14
I agree with Beyond about the hamstrings. I trained these by standling holding a table with my knee bent to 90 degrees and getting my daughter to push down on my foot. At the beginning she could straighten out my leg with one hand. When I could lift her off the ground I reckoned I was strong enough :-) It was also a great bonding exercise, we had such fun and she loved helping me.

My comment about boot stiffness is based purely on my own experience. All I can say is that it definitely helped me to go up a step In stiffness.

Mark
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