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having problems with vertigo

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
hey there. I wonder if anyone can tell me how to overcome what's going on in my brain on the mountain.

I'm an Aussie, a high intermediate female aging skier. I've skied lots of mountains around the world but only this past season have i been having problems with vertigo.

I bought some new skis last season ( volkl 320 gammas) and loved them ( not my first carve ski) so much that that i really extended my skiing throughout our last season. I set out in NZ to push myself into being comfortable on black runs ( through lessons) and was happy with what i achieved and pushed myself on much steeper slopes. Although not entirely confident all the time i at least managed to give my skills the benefit of the doubt most times.

However, on Treble Cone ( at the lookout) and at Buller (Fanny's finish) i had 2 whopping doses of vertigo, the 2nd being worse than the 1st. I totally felt like the ground was swaying under my feet, my eyes were spinning and i was nauseated big time. The second time i completely ruined the photo session for my husband and daughter by being rooted to the spot and crying pitifully. I KNEW in my brain that i had the skills and the fitness to ski those slopes, but i couldnt make myself do it because my body was reacting so much against my brain.

I'm fairly sure it's a fear related reaction. I've always been a wussy skier and i know that's why it's taken me so long to be a good one. Now i just want to get through those barriers because it's annoying the carp out of me.

In 4 weeks time i'll be at Snowbird with my daughter ( ex- ski instructor but gave it away because she can make mega-bucks at Cliff lodge instead) and my sister ( instructor at Roundtop, PA) and i really want to be able to suck the tips and hints out of them and master powder skiing and go wherever they go but thus far they havent come up with anything that helps me confront this new issue. I SO dont want to waste the trip to these mountains because of the fear of the vertigo happening again and again.

Is this just happening because all of a sudden i'm on steeper gradients and the views are doing my head in? I've never liked heights anyway, so i figure this is just another reaction to that.

What am i going to do about it so i can become the skier i never thought i was going to be...

any thoughts appreciated.

i forgot to add, i take ginger tablets for travel sickness, do you think they might help on the mountain?
Also, my mother has Meniere's disease, please tell me all this isnt related to that. i'd be really cranky....
post #2 of 5
snomoonie sounds like you might be hyperventilating when faced with the conditions. You many not even be aware of it. Hyperventilating at altitude has a much greater effect and does not take as much to cause vertigo.

You could also be holding your breath, that will cause vertigo as well.

If you have ever had a Lammas class try some of the same breathing tactics. Think about bringing down you breathing and getting it under control. Before you shove off take time to absorb the task in front of you and form a strategy.
post #3 of 5

Vertigo Problems


You mentioned in your post that your mother has Meneiger's disease. You too could possibly. Studies have been done that it is the #1 cause of what everyone thinks is vertigo. I read an article awhile back that stated the cause of the disease is a "flaking" or "exfoliating" of the small bones in your ear & canal that hit small nerves and cause the unpleasant sensations of vertigo. Next time you feel the vertigo episode act up try this, tilt your head slightly down & forward, slowly rotate it away from the side of your head that feels the worse. By doing this you are trying to reposition the small bone fragment off the affected nerves. Since I too suffer from the disease and anything as simple as bending over to tie my shoes can set it off I was despirite for relief. I've tried it everday & especially skiing. The results are that the vertigo episodes have nearly gone away.
Good Luck
post #4 of 5

While reading your post I was thinking maybe Meniere's disease and you should get checked out by your doctor to rule it out. With it running in the family, I'd really recommend you get it checked. Hey, if its not, thats one less thing to worry about. If it is, then you can get treatment for it. After all Alan Shepard was grounded after his first Mercury Space Flight with Meniere's disease. After he had surgery, he returned to flight status and walked on the Moon with Apollo 14. Not bad if you ask me.

I did a quick Google, here's some links that might help.

I hope it isn't. It would be much easier to deal with hyperventilation.

Good luck.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks peeps for those replies. i've only ever had the vertigo whilst on the mountain, so i'm not convinced about it being Meniere's over the Fear Factor; just that i thought i should factor it in.

Interesting about the hyperventilating, i've never thought about that, but i do hold my breath when i'm concentrating hard, and i do tend to ski with a neck warmer over my mouth.

p.s. Pierre, i used to teach lamaze classes. i'm an expert at telling my patients how to breathe. Good food for thought. i'm just not convinced that it will work.
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