Originally Posted by Lpass
HI Marznc thanks for the response. I take private lessons usually mid week. I mostly ski southern Vermont and even that is a three hour drive for me. I'd have to say that I don't know much about PSIA certification. My quads though are often a problem even though I prepare in the off-season. It seems like it doesn't matter how much time I spend on a spin bike or doing lunges, etc., my quads still tire quickly. That's on harder terrain though. If I stick to easier terrain they're usually not a problem. I realize I need to work on my technique of course, but one day realized while doing squats that my quads feel different depending on whether I force my feet straight forward or let them toe out naturally. I've always tried to squat the way I was taught with my feet facing forward, but that led to knee pain. When I decided to squat the way I stand, the knee pain went away. I have problems running as well. I then tried lunges while forcing my feet straight forward and can barely do them, almost like an unused part of my quad is uncoordinated. This started me thinking about duck stances and whether it may be part of the problem. I'm not convinced that it's not a part of the problem. Once I slide my feet into my boots, my knees are forced in unnaturally. My skis also dangle to the outside. When I'm on a chairlift I notice that most peoples skis are facing straight forward whereas my left ski points left and my right ski points right forcing me to bend my feet further in so I don't knock into everyone else's skis. It's a comedy sometimes.
With regard to lessons, I find some valuable and others a waste of time and money. Being so far away from a decent mountain, I find it hard to get the same instructor on a regular basis. I'm also not a good kinesthetic learner and often have to absorb some of what I was taught and then go off and figure it out on my own. Sometimes I'll pick something up quick and other times never at all. I do enjoy skiing enough that I'll keep trying as long as it takes to get where I'd like to be. By the way what should I know about PSIA certification?
I'll chime in.
Alignment comes first
--Because you say you have problems running, I'm thinking that there may be something going on with your alignment. Your feet may over-pronate, bringing your knees inward and messing up your squats, and also your knees. This is a thing a great (not good, but really really good) bootfitter can help with. You say you have custom footbeds, and that's good to hear. You also say you have had quite a bit of work done on your boots, but you don't way what that was. Are they too big, and you've had shims glued onto the liners? Or something else? You haven't said you've had your stance and alignment checked and adjusted by a very good bootfitter. Consider doing that. People here can give you recommendations if you post where you usually ski. A bootfitter who works with racers who are put into plug boots would know how to do the alignment, and if this bootfitter were near your home hill that would be perfect. That way after skiing you can go visit and get tweaks done, then go back skiing the next day and check out the results on the hill. This will cost $$, but if your alignment is off you'll be glad you did it.
--However, the fact that you have strong quads at season's start but still have quad fatigue, especially on harder terrain, is a dead giveaway that there's a technical issue. Again, if you post where you ski, someone can point you towards a good instructor who can diagnose your issue and work with you to fix it. A one hour lesson needs to focus on one new thing, with the instructor watching you and giving you feedback about when you are doing that one new thing accurately, so you can repeat it after the lesson is over. Replacing old (dysfunctional) movement patterns with new better ones is not easy, and does not happen during the lesson. It's how committed the skier is afterwards to driving this new thing into muscle memory that determines if it ever "takes." You, along with every other adult who is trying to ski better with a new unfamiliar movement pattern, have to deliberately focus on making that movement pattern happen all day long, every run. Or almost all runs. After a lesson, every run you make when you are not practicing the new movement pattern simply reinforces the old one. So going off and figuring it out on your own is what you have to do. And doing that deliberate practice on easy enough terrain that your body will be willing to do the new thing is also required. Often when people ski they "just want to have fun," so off they go scaring themselves silly with speed and challenging terrain. If you go off and ski thrilling terrain after the lesson, you're not going to get better. On that thrilling terrain you'll revert to old familiar patterns, because you head will be filled up with the normal concerns that come with that terrain. There won't be any brain power left over to work on the unfamiliar and funny-feeling new movements you are supposed to be working on. We all learn new stuff best, and make it habitual, on easy terrain, at slow speeds. Once it feels more or less OK there, we need to move up to slightly more pitch. Eventually, when the movement pattern is very familiar, it won't disappear when we get on that enjoyable, challenging terrain. I wish instructors would talk to their clients about homework and its usefulness more often.
You sound normal
--My skis point outward when I ride the chair too. I've wondered how normal this is, so I've also watched the riders on the chair in front of me just as you have. Over the years I've noted that about half of all skiers sit with tips out and tails in. I also ski in New England. I hope you check this again, because I can't imagine that in southern Vermont there are that many people who sit with skis pointed straight ahead, unless they are working hard at making that happen for some reason (crowded chair?) Just know that sitting on the chair with ski tips out is not considered a sign of an anatomical problem amongst skiers.
--The business of feeling uncoordinated when doing lunges is normal, too. It takes practice to not fall over when you point your toes forward while doing lunges; it's really hard to stay balanced! That is not a clue for you that your anatomy is messed up. It's actually what everyone who starts doing lunges has to deal with. Keep at those lunges with toes pointed forward and you'll eventually get it.
--I can't comment on the issue with squats, but I do know that doing them with toes out vs toes ahead uses different muscles. Someone here will know.
Here are some questions you can answer to give the community more info.
1. Where do you ski?
2. How many years have you been skiing, and how many days do you usually get in a season?
3. What types of terrain do you usually like to ski on?
4. Have you had your alignment checked by a very knowledgeable bootfitter?
5. What was the nature of the work you've had done on your boots?
6. Do you wear orthotics in your street shoes? Have you ever gone to a podiatrist or physical therapist because of issues with your posture or with running or walking?
7. You say you have stopped progressing. What does that mean, exactly? What can't you do that you want to do?
8. You say you have trouble getting your skis on edge. Can you say more about that?
9. Lastly, do you have video of yourself skiing? (Point-of-view from your personal GoPro is useless here.) If you do, you might consider posting it for response (MA, movement analysis) in the instruction forum. You need to know that analysis of your skiing from instructors here may sound uncaring and blunt. It isn't, but this is the internet. If the video is decent, people can see right away if you are doing something that would cause your quads to fatigue fast, and they can see why you are having difficulty getting your skis on edge too.
Edited by LiquidFeet - 7/6/16 at 4:32am