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The Dangers of Amphibio Skis (... why I might buy some)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I was out in Western NY a few weeks ago and had a rather nasty injury. Orbital wall blow-out to the left eye. From going face-first over the outside edge during a lazy, not enough lean, hockey stop on the flat - the kind of flat at the bottom of the trail where it's a simple thing to ski UP the hill with practically no effort.

In the vein of another recent thread on crashing into trees, I'd want to share my theory about how / why it happened. . .

You see, I had been demo'ing a pair of Elan Amphibio 88's with the outside edge rocker for the previous 8-10 runs. It was the end of the day. I had just swapped back into my own no-rocker skis (67 cm waist GS skis) and was a little tired, down the last run of the day, thinking about lugging the four sets of family members equipment back to the minivan. As approached my kids, rotating into a very relaxed hockey stop that was more sideslip than grip, at a speed so slow I did not think it would be possible to break a bone... the next thing I knew I had caught an outside edge and was on lying on my face. However, unlike the typical fall where you sort of slide a ways down the hill as you come to a stop, where the majority of your inertia is parallel to the surface your skiing on, I took the full on impact of a "parking lot" fall on my face.

To add insult to injury, my oh-so-compact glasses, which would normally have flown off my face, instead got sandwiched by my googles and went right into my eye socket. As the ophthalmologist explained it, if you push on your eyeball with the lens of your glasses, the pressure has to go somewhere, so I was actually lucky given the situation to blow out my orbital wall, otherwise it might have been a ruptured eyeball.

So why the title about Amphibio's? Well, conditions on the hill were typical 40-ish degree crud with melt-off from a solid base of man made NY snow. Just the right stuff to grab your edge, but not deep enough to cushion you from the ice underneath. There were no ruts (I went back and checked), just normal soft corn and slush. All that afternoon I had been cruising over it like nothing on the Amphibio's, relaxing my typical hard driving carve for a more pleasantly laid back easy ride. Much to the appreciation of my quads and back. But in my failure to account for the unforgiving nature of my own gear, I learned the hard way just how much the Amphibio's had been doing to keep me upright in my newly adopted "easy" stance.

Which left me with two take-aways:

(1) After a lifetime of skiing with glasses, I'm switching to contacts. Because even with an OTG pair of googles, modern goggles are not designed for impacts, and when they flex there is no place for your glasses to go in a fall (I think if I had been wearing my 20 year old Scott Ultimate OTG goggles I would have probably walked away in better shape- too bad the foam disintegrated on them about two years ago).

(2) The next deal I see on a pair of Amphibio's, I'm all over it.

Plus a wonderful example of how a combination of the little things can cause big injuries when taken for granted at the wrong moment.
post #2 of 23

That's rough.  

 

I am posting a reply more on the glasses thing: my Dad recked his shoulder in vaguely similar circumstances recently.  It was wet out, he was skiing with fan goggles that didn't quite manage to keep his glasses from fogging up, he ended up with a ride down the hill in the sled.

 

I realize the plural of anecdote is not data, but if glasses can fog up and if you fall they can destroy your eye, perhaps we should all be wearing contacts?  

 

I skied without corrective lenses for a long time, I prefer contacts to that, but if for some reason I couldn't use them I would now probably forego it entirely!  I don't have awful vision, so I can see the area near my feet well enough to be able to ski without corrective lenses (fortunately).

 

Anyone else have glasses related skiing injuries?  Am I massively overreacting to this story?

post #3 of 23
When I slammed into my tree, I had sunglasses under my goggles because it was a really bright day on a mountain where such days are few. It jammed the sunglasses into my face and I ended up with cuts and bruises far beyond what would have been normal. Haven't done that again, as I realized I was lucky. Just the thought of it down makes me ill. The goggles basically gave the glasses nowhere to go. Normally I ski with contacts.

Are we sure the OP caught an outside edge? Because my last two falls were both on foggy days where I skied into a stop and underestimated my speed (thought there wasn't any -- thought I was stopped) and did a pole plant next to my downhill ski. Slammed me straight downhill.
post #4 of 23
I want my eyes fixed. I hate glasses and contacts. I could live with reading glasses to read and safety glasses are safe (and good for keeping dust out of your eyes).

The Amphibios are unusual skis. While I kind of liked my demo, my skilled son hated them. They were prone to some weird edge catches and releases. Maybe taught you some bad habits?

Groomers are dangerous. Avoid them.

@sibhusky I usually run over my poles and fall in the lift line. Oops.

Eric
post #5 of 23

LevelNine has had a lot of deals on Amphibio skis for more than 6 months. Some are 2014 and 2015 models.

 

This one for $289 seems like a great deal if you can handle a 186. Also have a narrower one for $469 including bindings, but only available in two (or too) short lengths.

post #6 of 23

When I'm going to ski really really hard I take my glasses off as I've crashed and smashed them into my face before.  If I'm just cruising around with the kids I'll still wear them.

 

My goggles fogged up like crazy at Whitefish this year and I couldn't wear my glasses under them hardly at all the entire time.   Weird how I never really noticed I wasn't wearing them though.

post #7 of 23
Sorry to hear about the injury. Hope you heal up in time for your next adventure! Summer or winter...

Well, it seems like all of these incidents have happened to me over the last two years on either a Rossi E83 or Amphibio 88 XTi, but nothing bad enough to prevent skiing.

Last year sliding to a hockey stop on a steep blue I got lazy and my downhill pole tip grazed then caught in the snow. Next thing I know I'm flipping head over heels, but landed fairly evenly on my side. Shook off the willies and skied for the rest of the day and trip counting myself damn lucky.

Face plant on my last day last year skiing fast on a steep black. So glad I was wearing my contacts instead of glasses, but still got a black eye. That fall convinced me I needed stiffer, damper skis than the E83's, thus the Amphibios.

Two absolutely stupid not paying attention falls this year with the Amphibios when skiing slow on traverses or at exit gates from steeper runs. Maybe there is something to what was said about weird edge catches. My shoulder and knee are still in rehab.

After demoing last year, I picked the Amphibios as the best compromise of what I was looking for over the E83s. Stiffer, damper, longer length (186) with easy turning, but more camber (at least on the inside edge) for grip to support my size (Clydesdale), and still all mountain since I wasn't looking for a race ski. After one season, I'd say they are a lot of ski and require me to be more engaged than the E83's. I would count that as a positive as I could really depend on them to perform when I needed them at their best. I got mine (older model) well discounted at LevelNineSports and they still have some in stock, but I don't think this year's model.
post #8 of 23

Sad to hear about your eye. Get healed quickly please.

 

Love my Amphibios. No problems ever catching edges, even when wearing them on the wrong feet (camber on the inside ski, rocker on the outside).

 

I've been wearing glasses under OTG goggles for my entire ski life. Never any problems despite a few concussions. Knock on wood wooden head.

post #9 of 23

You may be interested in Dawgcatching's review of next year's (16)  Amphibio 88. He rates it very high. I doubt that it will change that much from previous years. If you skied it, and, really liked it, why search anymore. I try to demo Elan's each year, and, have always thought they were fine carvers. 

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/133221/2016-frontside-all-mountain-ski-reviews-blizzard-stockli-kastle-head-elan

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

...even when wearing them on the wrong feet (camber on the inside ski, rocker on the outside)...

 

Do you do that intentionally? Or only by accident?

post #11 of 23

I used to wear contacts skiing. One day I forgot them and still skied without problems. Never used them again. 

post #12 of 23
Wearing contacts would solve a whole bunch of sports problems for me, logistically and financially. I tried pretty hard to make it work a few years ago, with two different pairs of lenses, and couldn't. My vision simply wasn't as sharp. Not even close. Optometrist said, "Yup, you're one of those perfectionists who notices that glasses give a crisper image." What do the eye doctors in the house think about that story?
post #13 of 23
I'm willing to give up sharpness for good peripheral vision, lack of fogging, lack of something sliding down my nose or pressing on the sides of my head.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm willing to give up sharpness for good peripheral vision, lack of fogging, lack of something sliding down my nose or pressing on the sides of my head.

 

Same.  I wear glasses on a day to day basis because I work at a computer and my vision is definitely a little better with my glasses and I can tell the difference.  But I always wear contacts for skiing, biking, and other physical activities because of the various advantages that sibhusky mentions.

post #15 of 23
[https://youtu.be/snSDE9__dYIquote name="jaobrien6" url="/t/146491/the-dangers-of-amphibio-skis-why-i-might-buy-some#post_1991077"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm willing to give up sharpness for good peripheral vision, lack of fogging, lack of something sliding down my nose or pressing on the sides of my head.

Same.  I wear glasses on a day to day basis because I work at a computer and my vision is definitely a little better with my glasses and I can tell the difference.  But I always wear contacts for skiing, biking, and other physical activities because of the various advantages that sibhusky mentions.
[/quote]

Me too. Plus I have bifocals, so need reading glasses over my contacts for buying lift tickets or reading trail maps. Contacts are still worth it for sports.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I'm willing to give up sharpness for good peripheral vision, lack of fogging, lack of something sliding down my nose or pressing on the sides of my head.


the peripheral vision is a major reason why I rarely wear my glasses.  Skiing is a good example and when I was teen I made a fairly large leap in performance playing soccer when I started wearing my contacts

post #17 of 23

If you're looking for a reason to get lasik eye surgery, skiing is the best justification ever.  Er, maybe second best after the beach.

post #18 of 23

I've explored lasik several times with different doctors and unfortunately I am not a good candidate for it.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

[https://youtu.be/snSDE9__dYIquote name="jaobrien6" url="/t/146491/the-dangers-of-amphibio-skis-why-i-might-buy-some#post_1991077"]
Same.  I wear glasses on a day to day basis because I work at a computer and my vision is definitely a little better with my glasses and I can tell the difference.  But I always wear contacts for skiing, biking, and other physical activities because of the various advantages that sibhusky mentions.

Me too. Plus I have bifocals, so need reading glasses over my contacts for buying lift tickets or reading trail maps. Contacts are still worth it for sports.[/quote]

Maybe its my astigmatism, but I don't notice much difference between my glasses and contacts. In some ways, the contacts seem sharper looking down the ski slope, but this might be having the whole field of vision dialed in (no bifocals). I need bifocals, but forget why the optometrist said that would be difficult to accommodate with my astigmatism. So my wife gets annoyed that I can't read my phone for text messages and such, or trail maps.

Dawg's old review of the earlier model Amphibio 88 XTi was one that led me to seek them out.
post #20 of 23

The difference in visual acuity is not that big for me -- my cataracts put an upper limit on how good the correction can be.  

Plus, I have decided to prioritize hassle-minimization over perfection:  my left and right contacts are the same, but the two lenses in my glasses have about 10% different strength.

post #21 of 23

Doesn't the amphibio put the weaker carving edge on the weaker carving foot? In other words less weight on the softer edge? What good is that? Elan's spin on its racing skis is that it results in a more fall line directed downhill release. But on the rec skis a more "surfy feel". Surfy feel?? on firm snow? I am very suspicious of this marketing born double entendre subterfuge.

 

Rossignol puts a rocker on its carving skis and makes the shovel stiffer so as not have the rocker inhibit quickness. It seems to me they are trading one asset of quickness for another simply so they can put the word "rocker" on more skis because the word "rocker" is what flies the skis off the shelf.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

...even when wearing them on the wrong feet (camber on the inside ski, rocker on the outside)...

 

Do you do that intentionally? Or only by accident?

Intentionally. It's a good way to feel the difference between rocker and camber.

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Intentionally. It's a good way to feel the difference between rocker and camber.

 Rusty, when you do register the difference, do you find it advantageous switching for conditions, quicker turns, etc? I am surprised that they decided not market it like the "old" amphibios, the advantage being upon choosing the softer sidewall for softer conditions and harder for harder?


Edited by Rich666 - 4/8/16 at 5:44am
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