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Your advice on multi-day skiing (for newbies)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
So far my ski days (all six) have been single - none consecutive - and fortunately each time I've noted less fatigue and soreness (DOMS.) I'm amazed, nonetheless, at the number of people I know who exercise less than I do, yet go West for week-long ski trips and report no muscle or joint problems.

I'll be in Park City Feb 1-15 and can only guess at what those consecutive ski days will mean to my 54-year-old knees. I'm sure the squats and stretching will help, along with the Stairmaster, exercise bike, and EFX when I can get to the gym.

From previous posts, I can see the value of good hydration, avoiding alcohol, and minimizing caffeine. Some extra vitamin E and C couldn't hurt, and maybe some CalMag, and I've already increased my glucosamine. Protein bars and shakes.

A big bottle of Advil....

Strategy: I'd like to line up a lesson at PCMR Sunday morning. (Advise if you have a favorite instructor there, and an email address.) Then some easy cruising on the blues the rest of the day - learn what powder is like, since we don't have much here. After skiing Sunday-Tuesday, I'm thinking I'll take Wednesday off, get some custom footbeds made (Surefoot or Superfeet) and have my skis tuned and waxed. Then ski Thursday and Friday, and see how it goes....

Thoughts, ideas, advice, recommendations, or just $0.02... all welcomed.
post #2 of 21
Just listen to your body. You mentioned staying hydrated, which is important. Hopefully, March will end soon and we can get back to winter, if not, don't count on skiing any powder.
post #3 of 21
We like a mid-week break, usually renting snowmobiles. We'll get the inevitable 5 of 6 day lift pass, ski three days, take a day off to do other stuff, then finish up (semi) fresh for the remaining two days.

Over the years, we've had some fun adventures on that day off. My buddy and I are old dirt bike riders, and on one trip, we were following the guide, and he saw were keeping up and leaning into the turns, etc., so he started picking up more and more steam, sometimes diverting a little off the trail to catch a little jump, and we'd follow. Our wives followed not too far back, but some folks we didn't know were really starting to fall back. In any case, the guide hit this one jump with a little steam up, and we each progressively hit it, too, each going a little faster in an attempt to catch up. By the time my buddy's wife hit that jump, I swear she caught FOUR feet of air; I looked over at the guide (we'd all stopped and were waiting for everyone) and I saw him cringe and literally hide his eyes. How about she landed it just fun and it's been a great "There I was" story ever since.
post #4 of 21
at the risk of stating the obvious, the most successful way to enjoy a multi-day ski vacation is to STAY FIT.

no amount of water, vitamins, fad dieting, yoga, incantation, aromatherapy, crystal rubbing, witchcraft or anything else can make up for a lack of fitness.

if your body is starting to ache, that's a sign that you're pushing beyond your fitness. at that point, you should assess whether it's worthwhile to feed your ego by skiing what you want to ski, versus skiing what your fitness and conditioning will allow. just like having drinks when you have to drive home, you need to know when to stop.

dry land training is fun if you really love skiing. check out the heading "Training" under the top EpicSki.com logo bar above.

be wise, set ego aside

PS - why would you wait until the middle of your ski week to get proper footbeds? IMHO that should be FIRST on your list.

[ January 21, 2003, 11:36 AM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #5 of 21
How about the universal elixer of Viox/Red Bull? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Fitness, aside, I suspect the best way to train the muscles used for alpine skiing is to go down snow-covered inclines with a long narrow strip of smooth, waxed wood attached to each foot.

The first time I did this activity for a day, I could barely get up or down a flight of stairs for the next two days. The second time skiing, I had mild soreness for only a day. After the third ski day, I noted minimal soreness. I assume that's because muscles were becoming accoustomed to this strange new activity, and because my boots were 'breaking in' and becoming less uncomfortable, and because I was developing physical skills/balance/abilities that allowed me to enjoy skiing more with less work (and going faster and falling less.)

My ski instructor advised me there's no activity that uses the same muscles used for skiing, so nothing prepares you to ski except...well, skiing.

Countering that statement is advice from friends and various websites, suggesting that 'lots of squats', mountain biking, trail running, wall squats, in-line skating, Stairmasters and exercise bikes can help prepare for a ski trip.

There are also numerous references in these and other fora describing early season soreness in knowledgeable, experienced skiers, so I am assuming that a certain amount of soreness is to be expected, despite a brisk 3-mile walk most mornings and my workouts at the gym.

I'm sure that skill level, fitness level and activity level on the slopes all factor into the equation and are different variables for each person. The big unknown to me is how I will react to consecutive days of skiing, and whether a little soreness from the previous days will put me at increased risk of injury.

Also, Gonzo, your other point is well taken. I had already changed my plans to get the Surefoot footbeds at 8:00 a.m. Sunday, the first day in Park City, then arranging for a Mountain Direct Pass, then arranging for Monday's ski lesson, and then spending Sunday cruising on the blue runs.

Ego is not an issue here, and I've already learned that skiing is much more fun in an upright position. I'm not afraid of falling down, but I've figured this out: the less I fall, the more I get to ski. My goal in posting here was to get some insight into optimizing my time on skis and minimizing my risk of pain and injury.
post #7 of 21
be careful with the glucosamine. It raises insulin resistance which is bad! High doses of chondroitin may have similar benefits with out the negative sides.

Testosterone replacement therapy could do loads of good for you older fellas. Especially if you plan on doing a lot of skiing, or any physical activity for that matter. It will blow away any combination of diet/vitamins/magic potions! Middle and older aged men shouldn't have too much trouble finding a doc that will prescribe it. T is way cheaper than GH and I think many insurance companies will cover it.... not sure on that one though.
post #8 of 21
I've read that riding a unicycle is great preparation, too, lol. In addition to the exercise, it develops powerful balance.
post #9 of 21
right you are, fc... we all have early season soreness, even the most seasoned snow sluts! This year, though, I rode my mtbs straight on through Fall and still am riding. My first day out this year was a source of mild aches, but nothing like years past. I'm 42 years old.

Your MD is technically correct, but there are a few exercises that do help. Bicycling is commonly referenced, but in-line skating is the closest thing of all.

glad to hear you're going to get those footbeds earlier. you'll be glad you did!

good luck. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #10 of 21
walking backwards uphill in a sort of power walking position isn't bad either...
post #11 of 21
fcoliver, the advice on the third day being a good chance to recharge is good. Your plan seems reasonable. The facts of life dictate that your body will need to rest during a week long ski trip unless you adjust your skiing accordingly. Personally I try to ski early and get off the slopes early and I do often rest on Wed though it kills me to not click em on. I just heard that a prominent orthopedist from the east claims his research shows that 95% of skiing knee injuries occur after 12 noon due to fatigue and deteriorating snow conditions. I can believe that as my own 43 y/o legs are far more challenged in the pm than in the am. Like you I always wonder if those people who go for 1-2 week ski vacations ski every day or break it up? On top of all that I use up more energy per hour than the effortless better skiers around me due to "powerless effort". skidoc
post #12 of 21
Not to keep harping on the academy, but one of the amazing things that happened was that just about everyone who attended was able to ski from 6-10 days in a row without getting tired or injured. This probably has to do with the fact that we were all taught to ski more efficiently!

Then, of course, there were those unusual apres ski stretch sessions.....
post #13 of 21
Originally posted by bdc88:
be careful with the glucosamine. It raises insulin resistance which is bad! High doses of chondroitin may have similar benefits with out the negative sides.
Where are these facts coming from? I've been doing a lot of online research on side effects and have never heard this before.
post #14 of 21
Warren, type in "glucosamine insulin resistance" on medline and you'll get more studies than you'll know what to do with. Here are two of them. It's really no surprise to me, that this info is kept quiet. The supplement companies make big money off of glucosamine.

Glucosamine induces insulin resistance in vivo by affecting GLUT 4 translocation in skeletal muscle. Implications for glucose toxicity.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=867564 9&dopt=Abstract

Glucosamine regulation of glucose metabolism in cultured human skeletal muscle cells: divergent effects on glucose transport/phosphorylation and glycogen synthase in non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic subjects.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=104652 66&dopt=Abstract
post #15 of 21
A lot of people have mentioned conditioning, which is definitely important, but I've also found that good technique and equipment are just as important in my ability to ski 5-6 days in a row without feeling wiped out.
Older skiiers using old school technique can waste a lot of energy -- as soon as my quads begin feeling worked I check my technique and usually find that I'm using my 1960s era pre-school technique to muscle the skis around a turn when all it takes a little lateral pressure. :
Likewise, I've demoed gear that takes a lot more out of me than my usual setup. Together, good equipment and technique that lets the skis so do the work for you can make all the difference in the world. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Back from Park City:
Nine days of hard skiing, and I've learned a lot, having gone from 6 to 15 days (total, ever) on the slopes.

Six days at the Park City Mountain Resort, a *full* day at Deer Valley and one at The Canyons, and a day at Alta/Snowbird.

Three 2-hour lessons, along the way.

Unfortunately my 53-year-old knees required a day of rest on the fourth, seventh, and eleventh days, and I missed skiing the last day of the trip due to right knee fluid/pain and poor weather conditions (i.e. rain and thin coverage).

What I've learned: I would have been well-advised to plan two one-week trips, instead of one two-week trip. And next time I'll be in better shape - plenty of exercise bike and in-line skating beforehand.

After the last lesson, my instructor said I was a 'solid level 7' skier, and that I'd gone from level four to level seven in a week.

Still, it was a wonderful experience, and I fear it has ruined me for skiing in NC - the biggest ski resort here is 115 acres with 1200' vertical and 8 runs. Contrast that with 3500 acres, 3200 vertical and 98 runs!

Can't wait 'til my next trip West....

Many thanks for all the helpful advice in the EpicSki fora.
post #17 of 21
Originally posted by fcoliver:
[QB]Back from Park City:
and I fear it has ruined me for skiing in NC -
You might consider giving Intrawest's Snowshoe resort in WV a try. It's a long drive from Cary (even longer for us in Southern Pines) but we've always felt it was well worth it. Weekends get very crowded, but the snow quality, express quads, and 1,500' vertical drop in the "Western Territories" makes Snowshoe the best in the region.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Putt. I've been thinking that Sugar Mtn (20 min from my cabin) and Beech Mtn (40 min) would not be too exciting after a couple of weeks in Park City. (Heck! I was on a dozen lifts with more vertical than the Sugar Mountain Resort [1200'} - not to mention the 2900' vertical on Chips Run at Snowbird.)

The Raleigh Slope and Sail has bus trips to Wintergreen... I think Showshoe is a bit further. I'm thinking it might be worthwhile to go for a little more drive time to Seven Springs.

My hunch is that nothing on the East Coast will compare to what I've just experienced in Utah...
post #19 of 21
Looking at this in retrospect, I have a few thoughts on this. I've mentioned in a few other threads that one of the cool things about the academy was that people were going out of their comfort zone for 4 days, without any serious injury. And in the days following, people continued to ski.

This was the first time I actually got to use the preski warmup and apres ski stretch that works for me, on a large group of people.

You may want to experiment with this the next time you ski.
There was almost no static stretch in the warmup. Active, dynamic balance and flexibility exercises were performed on snow, with ski boots on. We started by moobilizing the feet and working with fore/aft, as well as lateral balance, and build up into larger moves, designed to increase range of motion.

The static stretches were done indoors, after skiing. As I mentioned, we had an almost non existent injury rate, which is unusual, when you consider both the amount of people present, as well as the fact that people were pushing their limits, technique wise.

In contrast, a women's clinic I attend anually, always begins with a long, indoor static stretch warm up. Although i have not seen anything serious happen, the injury rate is considerably higher, even though people are not working as hard as they were at the Utah clinic.
post #20 of 21
so LM - where do we get it???

I am waiting waiting waiting for some of the concrete stuff you guys did at the academy to appear in electrons but so far no show.... [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #21 of 21
CONCRETE STUFF!! [img]tongue.gif[/img]
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