I was one of the original posters 9 years ago and although in my 60s still in very good shape and capable of skiing anything well. However, similar to the 20% rule, I stopped skiing trees, ultra steeps, and bumps even though capable of that. The senior body, even when fit, is just not the same as a young body and the same can be said for concentration and focus. Shortly after this post originated I came down with a life threatening autoimmune muscle disease as well as lupus (old guys aren't supposed to get lupus). It was resistant to treatment and in late Nov 2005 I lost 40 lbs of muscle in a week due to the disease. This is not a misprint and this was not atrophy. I was alternately described as the incredible shrinking man or later as a bag of bones. The rapid muscle breakdown almost overwhelmed my liver and left me quadriplegic with a feeding tube and little hope of every standing or swallowing let alone skiing again. I had one of my sons sell both of my new pairs of skis but never gave up the delusion of skiing again. My docs saved my life and I went thru physical rehab and was able to return to skiing and other things in 2007 despite missing a large % of muscle tissue. That first time skiing again was scary but I did it!
My progression back to skiing was fast and by the 2nd winter I was skiing fast and with precision but I needed to guard against injury. Several months in hospitals was enough for me so I developed yet another set of rules for my skiing.
Ski groomed runs or powder of less than a foot...no mashed potatoes. Slow down when the slopes were crowded or the light was flat (I could ski ok but absorbing a bump I could not see wreaked havoc on my body). No more gates. No ultra steeps, no trees, or bumps. I had already been skiing much shorter shaped skis (thank god for modern technology) and settled on the same general lengths....175-180cm. In the past 2 years I moved to wider skis (87mm) that were rockered tip and tail. Good on groomed and easy in powder and I have skied in as much as 1.5' of powder with no problem. Get on the slopes early when the snow is best and quit when tired...something I didn't know how to do earlier in life. My boots are still fairly stiff and there are no problems skiing in them...just getting them on and off due to residual weakness in my arms and hands....feel like a wimp sometimes.
Life is good again but very different than 10 years ago and recognizing my limitations has made skiing possible, fun, and safe. In time I will probably get some softer boots but I still like to haul and feel the control they give me.
My adaptations were originally made for aging but the 2nd set was due to unexpected and profound disability. By redefining my normal I have been able to enjoy skiing again at a high level and hope to continue for as long as I can. The biggest issue now is knees but that is another subject. My decision in the darkness of Nov 2005 to return to skiing somehow but also realize that I was not the same physical person and never would be has made life wonderful again and my heart beats a little faster as the weather gets colder.
Edited by bsimeral - 9/30/14 at 1:58pm